FLU AT THE ZOO


Flu at the Zoo

The first “Flu at the Zoo” initiative was a unique opportunity to assess preparedness for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in AZA institutions in the Midwest. Flu at the Zoo was held in June 2012, and led by the University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine. The exercise was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, (AZA) and the Zoo Animal Health Network (ZAHN) at Lincoln Park Zoo were key members of the development team.  The day-long exercise was held in Bloomington, Illinois and included over 80 people from 10 Midwestern states and the District of Columbia.

Flu at the Zoo is a tabletop exercise, designed to promote collaboration and understanding between the zoological industries, local, state, and federal government in matters of all-hazards preparedness and response.

The exercise brought staff from facilities in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri together to assess how they would respond to an AI outbreak at a zoological facility.  Additionally, the exercise was designed to help improve the HPAI guidance document for zoos and equivalents.  (Click here for link to V322) For many of the participating institutions, this was the first time they had ever participated in a Homeland Security Exercise & Evaluation Program (HSEEP) exercise. 

HSEEP is a template for the design, evaluation and follow up for exercises, which promotes the use of ‘lessons learned’ and advances improvement by virtue of an After Action Report and Improvement Plan steps. For more information on HSEEP, click here.

http://www.zooanimalhealthnetwork.org/FluAtTheZoo.aspx

Using Flu at the Zoo Documents

Below, we have included some of the documentation that is part of an HSEEP compliant exercise. These documents can be used several ways. 

If you wish to conduct your own ‘Flu at the Zoo’ HSEEP compliant exercise with your local stakeholders, it is advisable that you work with someone familiar with the process and adapt any of these documents to your specific needs.

These documents are the final versions based upon that 2012 exercise.  Any institution may download and use these materials in any way to help you increase preparedness in your facility.

Situation Manual 

This document describes the scenario that was created for the 2012 tabletop exercise.  The Sit Man describes the exercise objectives picked by the planning team, and presents a realistic scenario. There are 3 modules, based upon HPAI detected in the state; the virus is detected in your municipality, then finally, within your facility. 

Questions are provided to prompt discussion between the facility, State animal health, Federal regulatory agencies and Public health.  You may wish to use this same scenario for your own exercise, or use it for discussion within your facility to test your own plans.  Review the questions that were created to prompt discussion between players during the exercise.  Can you answer these same questions?

Flu at the Zoo I Situation Manual

Exercise Evaluation Guides (EEGS) 

These guides were created specifically for the 2012 exercise.  These documents were used to record the observations of the Exercise evaluators during exercise play.  At the time, each EEG was based upon Target Capabilities that would be an important element of preparedness and response to an animal disease event.  Even if you do not plan on using these guides, reading them will help one understanding the information that we wanted to be shared during the exercise. (Current HSEEP uses the term Core Capabilities)

Flu at the Zoo I Exercise Evaluation Guide: Epidemiological Surveillance and Investigation

Flu at the Zoo I Exercise Evaluation Guide: Food and Agriculture Safety and Defense

Flu at the Zoo I Exercise Evaluation Guide: Animal Disease Emergency Support

 

After Action Report and Improvement Plan (AAR/IP)

In an HSEEP exercise, a document is created to capture major strengths and areas for improvement (pg. 6) observed during exercise play, and capture ‘lessons learned’.  Based upon the completed EEGs turned in by the Evaluators, the Exercise planning team then develops an Improvement Plan which should help correct some of the weaknesses noted during the exercise.  The Improvement Plan provided the basis for the Flu at the Zoo II training and exercise. (link)

Flu at the Zoo I: After Action Report/Improvement Plan

Areas for Improvement

A peer-reviewed paper was published in the journal Homeland Security and Emergency Management in 2014.  The paper discusses one of the major areas needed for improvement that was discovered during the exercise:  That was the lack of understanding (by most players) of the Incident Command System (ICS), which would be used to organize a response to HPAI by regulatory officials in their facilities.  This area for improvement formed the basis for the next ‘Flu’ exercise, Flu at the Zoo II. 

Flu at the Zoo: Emergency Management Training for the Nation’s Zoos and Aquariums

Flu at the Zoo II

The second “Flu at the Zoo’ project, known as Flu II, was developed based upon the Improvement Plan from the first Flu tabletop exercise. There was a 2-part approach to addressing the gaps noted from the first Flu at the Zoo. The team developed training and an additional exercise to further prepare the zoological community for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Once again, the project was developed by The University Of Illinois College Of Veterinary Medicine Center for One Health Illinois, and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Care (USDA/AC) Emergency Programs.

Training

Since the After Action Report from the first Flu exercise indicated that there was little understanding of the use of Incident Command System (ICS) for disease management, a day of training was planned. In June 2013, zoological professionals re-assembled in Bloomington Illinois for basic ICS training. Certified trainers delivered ICS 100 and 200 using the standard training available on line through the Emergency Management Institute (link). However, they made it more relevant by using examples that are possible in a zoological institution, thereby demonstrating the utility of ICS for all-hazards preparedness and response. The presentations made the students ‘test ready’ and they were encouraged to sign into the EMI site, take the ICS 100 & 200 tests to receive their training certificates.

Using Flu at the Zoo II Documents

After the ICS training, The Flu II exercise was delivered as a ‘virtual’ tabletop exercise using the Food Shield platform. Food Shield allowed for a curated ‘blog’ type discussion with modules delivered to players on-line.  State Animal Health Officials, and USD Animal Care and Veterinary services personnel served as subject matter experts and could comment with suggestions and questions. The files below are some of the documentation that is part of an HSEEP compliant exercise, and can be used several ways. 

If you wish to conduct your own ‘Flu at the Zoo II’ HSEEP compliant exercise with your local stakeholders, it is advisable that you work with someone familiar with the process and adapt any of these documents to your specific needs.

These documents are the final versions based upon that 2013 virtual exercise.  However, any institution may download and use these materials in any way to help you increase preparedness in your facility.

Situation Manual 

Discussing the modules is a great way to see if your specific plans could address the situation as described in the scenario. The Situation Manual contains the scenario or story that our players were delivered during the course of the exercise.  Included in the Sit Man are questions that were asked of participants during exercise play.

Flu at the Zoo II Situation Manual

Exercise Evaluation Guides (EEGS) 

These guides were created specifically for the 2013 exercise.  These documents were used to record the observations of the Exercise evaluators during exercise play.  Each EEG was based upon a Core Capability that would be an important element of preparedness and response to an animal disease event.  Even if you do not plan on using these guides, reading them will help one understanding the information that we wanted to be shared during the exercise.

EEGs are important, as they help to capture the views of the evaluators, which ultimately lead to the creation of the After Action Report and Improvement Plan (AAR/IP).

Flu at the Zoo II Exercise Evaluation Guide: Emergency Public Information and Warning

 Flu at the Zoo II Exercise Evaluation Guide: Onsite Incident Management

Flu at the Zoo II Exercise Evaluation Guide: Responder Safety and Health

After Action Report and Improvement Plan (AAR/IP)

In an HSEEP exercise, a document is created to capture major strengths and areas for improvement observed during exercise play, and capture ‘lessons learned’.  Based upon the completed EEGs turned in by the evaluators, the Exercise planning team then develops an Improvement Plan which should help correct some of the weaknesses noted during the exercise.

Flu at the Zoo II After Action Report/Improvement Plan