The Emergency Response to Domestic Biological Incidents (PER-220) course is one of NCBRT's original courses in its biological incident training lane. The course has been recently updated to emphasize and aid participants in answering the question "Is it bio?" Although this question is the main premise of the course, it addresses many other important questions:
Would you know if it was biological?
What biological threats would be most likely in your jurisdiction?
Are those reflected in your preparedness plans?
Would you recognize indications of a biological incident?
Would you know what to do?
Would you know whom to communicate with?
Do you know how a biological weapon could be produced and disseminated and what signs to look for?
Do you know what precautions to take?
Would you know how to respond and recover once a biological incident is identified?
Do you know how to prepare for a biological incident?
Do you know what a biological incident is?
Do you know how a biological incident could affect your community?
Are you familiar with historical biological incidents?
Would you recognize early warning signs of a biological incident?
Do you know how to protect yourself and your community during a biological incident?
If you are in animal emergency services, agricultural safety, emergency management, emergency medical services, fire service, governmental administrative, healthcare, hazardous materials, law enforcement, public health, public safety communications, private sector/corporate security and safety, public works, transportation security, or a citizen/community volunteer, you need to know how to answer these questions. If you don't, this course is here to help, and it's DHS-certified and funded.
"Bio incidents are frequently overlooked in the response community because they do not fit any traditional model of an incident, i.e. frequently, the crime scene is not a single location, the lag time between perpetration and detection of the event is significant and compound the difficulty of response," said NCBRT instructor Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, Dipl. ACZM.
Further, a biological incident is perhaps even more likely to occur today according to Chatfield. "Because we now live in a global community where people travel frequently and far from home, there is large opportunity for introduction of a pathogen or biological agent product into the US for nefarious purposes. ERDBI discusses the risk of a bio incident and how to assess the possibility as it relates to you and your community."
Chatfield also points out that recovery from a biological incident is unique. "Recovery from a bio incident is not immediate as with other disasters. In fact, it's usually not a tangible recovery where buildings are repaired, debris is removed, etc. A bio incident recovery may take months or years and still leave a scar on an emotional level. Following a bio incident, the introduced pathogen may become endemic in the region and therefore part of the new normal following response. These complex issues are specific to bio incident recovery are significantly discussed during the ERDBI course," she says.