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2011 Fall Round Up

2011 staff deployments

During 2011, three HSPR staff participated in domestic and international deployments. Colette Whelan, Carey Palm, and former HSPR staffer Michael Kubler explain various aspects of their deployments.

Oregon laboratories complete bio-threat exercise 

Thirty-four Oregon Laboratory Response Network (LRN) member labs participated in September in the biannual exercise from the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to determine competencies in both communications and identifying bio-threat (BT) organisms. Each lab received a kit from CAP with three unknown specimens and the instructions to identify and report any possible BT organisms as if it were a real event by calling the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory. In this exercise, the three specimens were Burkholderia thailandensis (to mimic Burkholderia pseudomallei), Yersinia pestis (attenuated strain), and a non-BT organism, Listeria monocytogenes. The percentage of Oregon labs that correctly identified the organisms was at or above the national average, demonstrating once again the high level of clinical microbiology practiced in our state.

"Just One Thing" content winners announced 

Public health and the American Red Cross Oregon Chapters co-sponsored the "Just One Thing” contest. During September 2011, National Preparedness Month, members of the public could participate in the contest by submitting a preparedness tip for businesses, families, kids and even pets. Each winner received a preparedness kit focused on the specific topic of the tip they submitted.

Audience Preparedness Tip Winner

Keep comfortable walking shoes under your desk in case you must evacuate.


Bryan Green

Keep "to-go" bags in each of your cars just in case you’re at work or "out and about" when emergencies occur.


Laura Jane Schaefer

Teach your family to text so they have a new way to connect during emergencies.


 Nic Granum
Pet owners
    Have a picture of your pet with you, so you can easily prove pet ownership if you get separated in an emergency.
Beth Talmadge

Malheur County exercises tests shelter response 

On Sept. 8,2011 the Malheur County Public Health and Emergency Management program sponsored a community exercise to test their sheltering capabilities. Using a flood scenario, 20 players from a variety of partner agencies worked through how to acquire, staff, supply, and operate emergency shelters for evacuated citizens. Representatives from two neighboring counties assisted in the control cell and Oregon Heath Authority liaisons managed the exercise. Throughout the day, Malheur County response agencies reinforced their strong working relationships and explored strategies to improve future operations. Based on lessons learned, county staff are enhancing portions of their sheltering plan and organizing Incident Command System (ICS) training with mini-exercises at their monthly preparedness planning group meetings.

Project Connect serves Redmond

To commemorate 9/11, on Sept. 24, 120 Deschutes County Public Health Reserve Corps (DCPHRC) and state ESAR-VHP volunteers plus 16 AmeriCorps*VISTA members participated in Project Connect in Redmond, Ore. For two years, the DCPHRC has helped serve and carry out the mission of Project Connect, which is to “rally our region to support and create lasting solutions for those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness here in Central Oregon. Project Connect is a component of Central Oregon's Regional 10-year Strategy to End Homelessness,” said State Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator, Akiko Berkman.  Read the full story.

RPS participates in Columbia Crest Exercise 

Radiation Protection Services (RPS) participated with the Oregon National Guard, 102nd Civil Support Team, in a joint training exercise at the Port of Portland, and provided training resources for a follow-up exercise also held in Astoria the following day. The exercise was conducted from Sept. 27-29. The RPS dispatched staff members to form three emergency response teams each consisting of a health physicist to train with multiple federal and local agencies in Exercise Columbia Crest, which was designed to test their ability to respond to an event involving weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This event tested the public safety infrastructure by working and networking with essential first responders and state and federal law enforcement using universal protocols. Exercise participants included the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, TSA, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Vessel Boarding Security Team (VBST), Port of Portland Fire & Police, Portland Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit (MEDU), Port of Portland Marine Security, HAZMAT 07, HAZMAT 11, Department of Energy RAP 8, and the Oregon National Guard's 102nd Civil Support Team (CST).

    Preparedness coordinators meet in Redmond 

    Oregon's local and tribal public health preparedness coordinators came together for two days of training and information sharing on Oct. 6-7 in Redmond. The annual conference began the day before with pre-conference sessions for coordinators and jurisdictions with Bio-Detection Systems (BDS). The conference featured plenary speakers, including Capt. Joe Maloney of the U.S. Public Health Service who talked about environmental health preparedness, and Dr. Christina Singleton of the CDC who presented on public health preparedness capabilities. Afternoon breakouts included informative sessions on ESSENCE, IRMS, Advance Practice Center tools, and exercise management.

    FEMA Region X provides Federal Medical Station (FMS) training 

    FEMA Region X provided its first-ever Federal Medical Station (FMS) training on Nov. 15-16 in Vancouver, Wash. An FMS is a cache of equipment and supplies that can be deployed to create a scalable 250-bed low-acuity first-aid station that can be used to complement hospitals or house the medically vulnerable during and after a disaster. The training focused on the FMS concept of operations, mission, coordination between local, state, and federal partners, site layout, physical location, and what types of services are needed to make the FMS deployment successful. Training participants engaged in lengthy practical skills stations where they experienced hands-on opportunities with actual FMS equipment. FEMA trainers provided real-world disaster experience and lessons learned from each deployment. Twenty-four Oregon Health Security, Preparedness and Response program staff, 17 partners from Alaska, 34 partners from Washington, and four partners from Idaho participated in the training.