The Exchange, Issue 10
March 2020
Preparing for and Responding to Wildfires and Planned Outages
We know that our ASPR TRACIE stakeholders are preparing for—and in some cases, responding to—suspected and actual COVID-19 cases. We encourage you to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 webpage (access audience-specific information by clicking on tabs on the left side of the page). You can also check out ASPR’s newly released COVID-19 Healthcare Planning Checklist; ASPR’s COVID-19 webpage (where you can find listening session transcripts and information on BARDA initiatives); and ASPR TRACIE’s Infectious Diseases resources page for more information.


In this issue of the Express, we highlight the 10th issue of the ASPR TRACIE Exchange, where we discuss lessons learned from recent wildfires, evacuating and receiving patients, and preparing for planned power outages. We also share an overview and link to the webinar Developing an HCC Pediatric Surge Annex and new Healthcare Coalition Burn Surge Annex Template.


For Issue 10, ASPR TRACIE interviewed a variety of subject matter experts (SMEs) from emergency medicine, emergency management, and the federal government to learn more about the effect of these incidents on local hospitals and communities at large. We hope that these real-life experiences shared by your colleagues across the nation help you plan (and adjust existing plans) for wildfires, evacuations, and power outages. Please visit our Natural Disasters, Utility Failures, Access and Functional Needs, and Healthcare Facility Evacuation /Sheltering Topic Collections and Issue 6 (which focused solely on evacuating healthcare facilities) for more information.   


Bryan Shuy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, authored the foreword for this issue, highlighting the National Health Security Strategy and the importance of collaboration with traditional partners and those “behind the scenes” who work tirelessly to ensure effective disaster response.


The articles in this issue include insights from a range of authors:

  • Dave McGraw (the Safety and Security Officer of Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center) and Karen Bryant (who was serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Prowers Medical Center at the time) share how their facilities evacuated, received, and repatriated resident patients during and after Colorado’s third largest wildfire in history.
  • Drs. Susan Fitzgerald and Joshua Weil (both of Kaiser Permanente Hospital Santa Rosa [California]) discussed how they applied lessons learned during the 2017 wildfires to their plans and response to the 2019 Kincade Fire.
  • Dr. Karen Relucio (Public Health Director) and Shaun Vincent (healthcare coalition coordinator, both of Napa County) compared their experiences with 2017 and 2019 wildfires, to include the transport of evacuees and support of medical shelters. They also discussed the effect of public safety planned power shutoffs on their community.
  • Kristen Finne, Director of the HHS emPOWER Program and Senior Program Analyst for ASPR, highlights how facilities and residents have been affected by and can plan for public safety planned power shutoffs.
  • Oscar Chavez, the Assistant Director of Sonoma County’s Department of Human Services, shared how lessons learned specific to mass sheltering during the 2017 Tubbs Fire were incorporated and applied during the Kincade Fire in 2019.
  • Rachel Kaul, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health with ASPR’s Division for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health & Community Resilience, highlights the post-wildfire delivery of training curricula to staff in California. This training addressed stress, distress, and compassion fatigue.
  • Dr. John Hick (Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis [MN], ASPR TRACIE’s Senior Editor) summarizes the articles in this issue, and highlights healthcare-related challenges and considerations related to wildfire and power outage planning.

Access Issue 10 of The Exchange and download previous issues that address a variety of vital and timely topics.

New and Updated ASPR TRACIE Resources

On February 26, we hosted the webinar Developing a Healthcare Coalition Pediatric Surge Annex. This webinar features national experts discussing guidance, resources, and lessons learned to help healthcare coalitions (HCCs) develop a pediatric surge annex. Access the recording, presentation, Pediatric Surge Tabletop Exercise Resource Kit, and annex template today; reach out if you have questions or experiences you’d like to share.


On March 5, ASPR TRACIE and the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) hosted a webinar focused on Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Training and Exercise Resources. Speakers highlighted new online courses and exercise templates available for healthcare facility infectious disease planning and discussed these resources in the context of seasonal influenza and COVID-19 preparedness. Access our Infectious Diseases and Healthcare Coalitions resource pages for additional resources. Our Crisis Standards of Care Topic Collection and IOM Crisis Standards of Care: A Toolkit for Indicators and Triggers (specifically chapter 8, table 8-1, Example Hospital Indicators, Triggers, and Tactics for Transitions Along the Continuum of Care) can also support your planning efforts.


The 2019-2023 HPP Cooperative Agreement Funding Opportunity Announcement requires HCCs to develop a coalition-level burn annex to complement their base response plan and improve their capacity and capability to support a burn mass casualty incident. ASPR TRACIE worked closely with SMEs to develop a Healthcare Coalition Burn Surge Annex Template that includes general headers and descriptions HCCs can incorporate into their plans.


We continue to work with SMEs to refresh our 57 comprehensively developed Topic Collections. Check out the most recently refreshed collections, Exercise Programs and Training and Workforce Development, today!  

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