Ten years ago, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) national security staff members Ann Lesperance and Grant Tietje joined representatives from King and Pierce counties, cities of Seattle and Bellevue, and Joint Base Lewis McChord in developing the Regional Recovery Framework for a Biological Attack in the Seattle Urban Area. The framework focused on a hypothetical weaponized anthrax attack but was designed to be flexible and scalable to serve for other chemical or biological incidents. In “Think Recovery, Not Just Re-Entry, for Post-Pandemic Future” in Domestic Preparedness, Lesperance and Tietje call upon emergency managers and first responders from the framework team to revisit the 2010 framework and its potential relevance during the current pandemic.
“The value of emergency planning and preparedness is that whenever a disaster happens—regardless of its nature—your plans give you a place to start,” said Lesperance, national security advisor and director of PNNL’s Northwest Regional Technology Center. “When COVID-19 hit the Seattle area, several of us who worked on the framework immediately returned to the 2010 exercise because it started a lasting conversation for us about what our region can do together in the wake of a wide-scale event.”
“The framework demonstrates the value of engaging everyone from first responders and emergency managers, to community leaders and public partners from the very beginning of response to address complex community decisions that directly impact long-term recovery,” said Heather Kelly, City of Kirkland Emergency Manager.
In the years since the framework exercise, PNNL, through its Northwest Regional Technology Center, has continued to connect with emergency responders and public safety officials nationwide to understand and help prioritize their operational needs and requirements in the face of a hazardous incident. For example, PNNL conducted a similar exercise with representatives from Denver, CO, resulting in the Denver Urban Area Security Initiative All-Hazards Regional Recovery Framework.
“These engagements help us build stronger networks that we can call upon during times of crisis,” said Tietje, national security specialist at PNNL.
To learn more about PNNL’s emergency management and public health and safety partners and projects, visit the PNNL Northwest Regional Technology Center at http://www.pnnl.gov/projects/nwrtc.