University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response geese photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

Emergency Preparedness—
Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Response


Government Emergency Response Plan
Vermont Emergency Response Plan
Farm Emergency Response Plan

Government Emergency Response Plan

If a foreign animal disease such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) or other type of animal health emergency are identified in the United States, industry and government are prepared to work together to respond quickly and in a coordinated, responsible manner. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed National Animal Health Emergency Management System (NAHEMS) Guidelines to assist emergency preparedness outside the federal government.

An emergency response will have the following components:

  • Determine the nature of the outbreak/emergency.
  • Initiate an appropriate response.
  • Eliminate or control the disease.
  • Facilitate recovery (e.g. resumption of trade).

The state-based, nationally coordinated Animal Emergency Response Organization (AERO) has developed an emergency management approach based on the Incident Command System (ICS). The ICS was first developed to coordinate firefighting efforts at forest fires. It has been adapted for use in managing all sorts of hazards and risks. The ICS assigns roles to each agency or person involved in responding and establishes their lines of command.

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Vermont Emergency Response Plan

In Vermont, the Emergency Management System coordinates the responses of many entities. A partial listing of organizations and their responsibilities follows:

  • Vermont Department of Public Safety
    • Mobilize officers to assist with initial establishment and enforcement of movement and quarantine restrictions.
  • Local Law Enforcement Agencies through Towns and Municipalities
    • Initiate enforcement of movement and quarantine restrictions.
  • Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation
    • Provide the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets minimum criteria for selection of burial or burning sites, and selection of acceptable fuel materials for burning.
    • Provide advice to mitigate environmental impacts of operations.
  • Vermont Agency of Transportation
    • Provide heavy equipment for excavating burial sites, moving animal carcasses, and hauling materials for burning or fill.
    • Assist with establishing and maintaining biosecurity checkpoints and traffic control on public highways in movement control zones.
  • Vermont National Guard, when other private and public resources have been exhausted
    • Provide heavy equipment and personnel for excavating burial sites, moving animal carcasses, and hauling materials for burning or burial.
    • Assist with establishing and enforcing movement and quarantine restrictions.
  • University of Vermont and University of Vermont Extension
    • Conduct educational and outreach activities to producers, industry segments, and the public.
  • Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife and USDA Wildlife Services
    • Address issues of susceptibility and impact of disease in wildlife species.
  • Vermont Department of Health
    • Address issues of zoonotic potential and public health impacts of disease.
  • USDA Area Veterinarian In Charge (AVIC)
    • Notify appropriate contacts that are needed to support a response.
    • Prepare to coordinate and mobilize USDA personnel in control operations.
    • Contact AVICs in adjacent states.
    • Notify other USDA agencies in New England.
    • Assign Area Epidemiologist to Vermont for epidemiological support.
    • Consult with the State Veterinarian on a preliminary needs assessment.

The Vermont state level entities will work collaboratively with the following federal response organizations:

  • Emergency Response Team (ERT), a team of APHIS veterinarians with specialized training in epidemiology and pathology which is rapidly deployed to begin case investigation early in a disease outbreak
  • Regional Emergency Animal Disease Eradication Organization (READEO)
  • USDA APHIS

Industry partners also have roles to play in an emergency response and will be called on to communicate with their constituencies and support State and National response efforts.

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Farm Emergency Response Plan

Farms are encouraged to have their own Emergency Response and Security Team at each location they operate. The team will be called upon to assist other emergency management personnel in enforcing biosecurity protocols. Whether dealing with an outbreak of disease, contamination of feed or milk, or a suspicious intruder, the team should know what authorities to notify, how to secure the premises, and how to quarantine the area involved.

  • Assess the situation.
  • Contact the appropriate responder.
    • Veterinarian for a disease concern
    • Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Food Safety & Consumer Protection Division, Dairy Section for contamination concern
    • Law enforcement for intruder concern
  • Be ready to do the following in case of a highly contagious disease or certain types of contamination.
    • Secure all points of access to and from the operation.
    • Cancel hauling of cattle from or to the operation.
    • Cancel any tours and prohibit all visitors. Only authorized officials should have access to the property.
    • Take steps to prevent birds, rodents, dogs, cats, and other wildlife from entering the premises.
    • Have a sanitation area by the main entrance and stations throughout the operation.

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:10 PM

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