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7. Supporting the Federal Response, States, and Communities



The Department, as a whole and through its constituent Bureaus and Offices, is committed to meeting its responsibilities specified in the National Response Plan (NRP). In the event of an Incident of National Significance (INS), the Emergency Management Council (EMC) and the appropriate Interior Regional Emergency Coordination Councils (I‑RECCs) are activated to facilitate Departmental coordination.

The NRP applies a functional approach that groups the capabilities of Federal Departments and Agencies and the American Red Cross into Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) to provide the planning, support, resources, program implementation, and emergency services that will most likely be needed during an emergency or threat of an emergency. The Department supports all 15 ESFs. The table below summarizes Bureau and Office assignments for each ESF.

Table 7-1. DOI ESF Responsibilities
ESF Number ESF Description Principal DOI Planner
ESF-1 Transportation Office of Wildland Fire Coordination (OWFC)
ESF-2 Communications Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)
ESF-3 Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)
ESF-4 Firefighting OWFC
ESF-5 Emergency Management Office of Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Management (OLESEM)
ESF-6 Mass Care, Housing and Human Services OWFC
ESF-7 Resource Support OWFC
ESF-8 Public Health and Medical Services OLESEM
ESF-9 Search and Rescue National Park Service (NPS)
ESF-10 Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC)
ESF-11 Agriculture and Natural Resources (Animal [includes wildlife] and Plant Disease and Pest Response) United States Geological Survey (USGS)
ESF-11 Agriculture and Natural Resources (Natural & Cultural Resources and Historic Properties) OEPC
ESF-12 Energy Minerals Management Service (MMS)
ESF-13 Public Safety and Security OLESEM
ESF-14 Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation USGS
ESF-15 External Affairs Office of Communications (OCO)

Each Principal DOI Planner coordinates normal ESF activities with the Primary Agency as designated in the NRP. When tasked by the Primary Agency for support, the Principal DOI Planner deploys resources from their own Bureau or Office and/or DOI elements that support the NRP. Support to the NRP is a Primary Mission Essential Function of the Department. During a pandemic, the Department must assure readiness to provide support to the NRP for both health-related emergencies and other disasters/incidents which could occur during a pandemic. All ESF Primary and Supporting Agencies must be capable of responding during a pandemic.

The ESFs that DOI personnel are most likely to be deployed to support the public health response include:

  • ESF-4 (Firefighting) personnel and logistical resources as required to support ESF-6 (Mass Care), ESF-7 (Logistics) and ESF-8 (Public Health and Medical Services)
  • ESF-11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources [Animal (includes wildlife) and Plant Disease and Pest Response])
  • ESF-13 (Public Safety and Security).

During a pandemic, each Principal DOI Planner maintains communications capabilities with the NRP-identified primary D/A for the respective ESF. The following subsections describe how DOI supports the Federal response with deployable assets during a pandemic. Those responding to a pandemic, or a disaster/incident during a pandemic, are afforded health and safety measures and training as described in Sections 5 and 6 as well as Appendices F - H.

Prior to a pandemic, each Principal DOI Planner develops Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for missions likely to be encountered during a pandemic, including PPE and infection control measures that would be required.

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7.1 ESF-4 (Firefighting)

In order to provide support to both the NRP and DOI-specific incidents, OWFC uses the planning assumptions from Section 1.4 of this plan to determine drawdown limits with other resource commitments for wildland fire, hurricanes, etc. OWFC created an “Influenza Readiness and Response Task Group” to develop a comprehensive pandemic influenza response plan for all Federal Wildland Fire Management Agencies. The Avian Flu Pandemic Response and Preparedness Plan for the Federal Fire Agencies includes:

  • Information on the types of incidents wildland firefighting personnel could expect to encounter during with avian influenza or pandemic influenza
  • Medical requirements and procedures for emergency responders including required vaccinations and medical screening
  • Lists of medical supplies, unique to influenza response, needed to be stocked in local and national fire caches including “Push-Packs” that can be quickly deployed
  • Required PPE
  • Situational awareness and PPE training for responders
  • Incident Base Hygiene Plan including decontamination procedures
  • Standard Operating Guidelines
  • Alternative fire management strategies to be used in lieu of a traditional incident base or camps during an influenza pandemic
  • Information on how employees can refuse an assignment

The wildland fire community (United States Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, NPS, and FWS) supports each other and its interagency partners with wildland fire qualified resources. If the community needs additional resources from other Federal Departments and Agencies, established agreements and standard operating procedures are used to acquire them for firefighting efforts.

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7.2 ESF-11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources [Animal and Plant Disease and Pest Response])

The two Primary Agencies for ESF-11 identified by the NRP are the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior. The NRP Principal Planners for DOI’s support to ESF-11 are USGS (for Animal [includes wildlife] and Plant Disease and Pest Response) and OEPC (for Natural and Cultural Resources and Historic [NCH] Properties).

The USGS Chief Scientist for Biology and the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) Director are responsible for plans regarding the Animal and Plant Disease and Pest Response portion of ESF-11.

During an influenza pandemic or avian influenza outbreak, the areas of focus are those related to pandemic/avian influenza activities.

The USGS NWHC, located in Madison, Wisconsin, has the capability to detect avian influenza viruses and is working directly with USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, located in Ames, Iowa, to identify and characterize potential H5 and H7 viruses in wild birds.

In conjunction with other DOI Bureaus (notably, FWS and NPS) and State and Federal agencies (e.g., USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [APHIS], State of Alaska Department of Game and Fish, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]), the USGS has helped develop a national wild bird surveillance strategy for the early detection of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza.

At present, USGS is screening select submissions from geographic locations known to be areas where wild birds from Asia frequent or where birds that mix with wild birds from Asia feed, rest and breed in the United States. The NWHC is also investigating unusual wild bird mortality events, looking for H5N1 and other avian influenza viruses, and is working with the FWS and the State of Alaska on this surveillance. USGS is also working with Pacific Ocean communities (Oceania), including Hawaii and U.S. territories.

The discovery of H5N1 in domestic birds in Europe and Africa starting in October 2005 raises the possibility of the virus reaching North America via migratory birds traveling an eastern route. In response, USGS and FWS wildlife resource experts are assessing the need for enhancing surveillance in the Atlantic Flyway. Control measures for wild birds and migratory birds fall under DOI’s Migratory Bird Treaty Act authority.

The NRP and the Interagency Playbook for Domestic Response to a Detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 in Birds provide the emergency communications and notifications structure should highly pathogenic H5N1 be identified in North America in wild or domestic birds. In accordance to the Interagency Playbook, once DOI or USDA detect H5N1 in North American wildlife, or USDA detects the disease in North American farm animals, the positive identification will be reported to DHS through USDA/APHIS. USDA has the lead on communication activities related to highly pathogenic avian influenza up to Pandemic Level 4 (Federal Government Response Stage 0), since the outbreak up to that point is primarily an animal issue. DOI provides communication support regarding H5N1 issues related to wildlife resources and DOI lands, and will coordinate with USDA in its communication efforts.

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7.3 ESF-13 (Public Safety and Security)

Once the influenza pandemic reaches the United States, ESF-13 may be activated. The magnitude of the activation will vary depending on the scope, length, and intensity of the influenza outbreak. Departmental law enforcement officers (LEOs) deployed on an ESF-13 mission assignment in response to the pandemic, will likely be engaged in the provision of security for Federal teams, assets (such as national stockpiles of vaccines and other medicines), and facilities in support of State and local law enforcement.

As described in Chapter 8 (Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Security) of the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza:

State, local, and Tribal law enforcement and public safety agencies have primary responsibility for providing public safety and security during a pandemic. However, at the request of a Governor when State and local resources are overwhelmed and not capable of an effective response, the Federal Government can provide assistance through Federal law enforcement personnel. In addition, under the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10501 et seq., the Attorney General may provide law enforcement assistance, including Federal personnel, in response to a Governor’s written request, when he determines that such assistance is necessary to provide an adequate response to a law enforcement emergency. When Federal departments and agencies are requested to provide public safety and security support, the assistance is provided through the mechanism of Emergency Support Function #13 – Public Safety and Security (ESF #13) of the NRP.

Responding to an influenza pandemic could require restrictive measures such as isolation or quarantine and offer social distancing measures such as movement restrictions, and most States have broad quarantine authorities enacted pursuant to their police powers. If necessary, State and local law enforcement agencies, with assistance from their State’s National Guard as needed, will normally enforce quarantines or other containment measures ordered by State or local authorities. Federal law enforcement officers can also be called in to assist in State and local quarantine enforcement, at the request of State and local authorities, once they are authorized under the Emergency Law Enforcement Assistance Act, and deputized under appropriate Federal, State, and local law. In addition, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers may assist in enforcing State quarantines at the direction of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The Federal Government also has statutory authority to order a quarantine to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States or from one State or possession into any other State or possession.

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7.3.1 Planning Requirements for OLESEM

To effectively prepare for such potential deployments, DOI needs to implement at a minimum the following recommendations:

  • Develop timely and efficient procedures to implement the U.S. Marshall’s Service (USMS) procedures for special USMS deputation of DOI law enforcement officers (LEOs) deployed on ESF-13 missions assignments
  • Develop policy and procedures to implement the 212 DM 17 provision for the re-delegation of all DOI law enforcement authorities through the Deputy Assistant Secretary – LESEM to the Director - OLESEM
  • If needed, develop training curricula and materials to instruct DOI LEOs in the laws and regulations pertaining to both State and Federal immunization and quarantine laws. Develop, supplement, or clarify Departmental use-of-force policy as it relates to enforcement of both State and Federal immunization and quarantine laws
  • Develop a cadre of trained DOI EFS-13 Coordinators and/or Liaisons, and policy and procedures for coordination and management of DOI ESF-13 mission assignments
  • In coordination with OWFC, develop mechanisms and procedures for classifying, determining availability and status, ordering, dispatching and tracking of Departmental law enforcement resources for DOI ESF-13 mission assignments.

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7.3.2 Bureau and Law Enforcement Planning Requirements

During an influenza pandemic, various measures will need to be instituted by each Bureau and Office to limit the exposure to or spread of influenza among employees and the public. Measures to alter workplace exposures to influenza specific to law enforcement activities should be developed, and instituted in accordance with Sections 5.4 and Section 6, and Appendix F of this plan. The pandemic influenza planning checklists for the EMS, Law Enforcement, and Correctional Facilities sectors, in Appendix O, should also be consulted and utilized. Bureaus will plan for the following:

  • Develop guidance to implement social distancing by limiting discretionary contacts with the public (e.g. enforcement of non-serious traffic violations could be suspended and theft reports could be taken by phone rather than in person).
  • Develop guidance for the prevention, control of spread, or treatment of influenza in inmate populations in detention facilities.
  • Develop guidance to augment security for clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical facilities located on agency lands as needed.
  • Develop contingency provisions to assign non-law enforcement related emergency services duties (e.g. emergency medical services, search and rescue, and wildland and structural fire suppression) to non-law personnel in order to utilize LEOs for law enforcement duties, especially in situations where large percentages of DOI’s LEOs are deployed and/or Departmental LEOs are deployed on extended missions.
  • Bureau planning should consider the possibility that an influx of visitors who become ill may burden medical and emergency services resources in the rural areas where DOI lands are located.

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7.4 Federal Regional Areas of Responsibility and the Role of the Interior Emergency Coordination Council (I-RECC) during a Pandemic

Once Federal Government Response Stage (FGRS) 2 (confirmed human outbreak overseas) is declared, the Federal government activates the National Principal Federal Official (PFO) and Primary Joint Field Office (JFO) staff. Then, during FGRS 3 (widespread human outbreaks in multiple locations overseas), the Regional PFOs and Regional JFOs are activated.

As illustrated in Figure 7-2, in the Federal Government’s PFO and JFO Regional Areas of Responsibility scheme for pandemic influenza, the country is divided into five Regional Areas of Responsibility. Each Regional Area of Responsibility includes two FEMA Regions, as depicted in the table below the map in Figure 7-2. Within this scheme, there is a National Principal Federal Official (NPFO), along with five Regional PFOs (one in each Regional Area of Responsibility), and ten Deputy Regional PFOs (two per Regional Area).

Figure 7-2: National and Regional Pandemic Influenza
PFOs, JFOs, and Regional Areas of Responsibilities
United States Map
PFO Regional Locations Regional Areas of Responsibility
Boston I and II
Atlanta III and IV
Denver V and VIII
Dallas VI and VII
Seattle IX and X
*** The National PFO will co-locate with the NOC

The NPFO, as designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security, facilitates national-level, Federal incident coordination during an influenza pandemic. Specific responsibilities of the NPFO include:

  • Communicating the Secretary’s guidance and direction to key Federal officials supporting the response
  • Establishing effective working relationships with, and ensure the needs of, impacted communities, States, Tribes, territories, and private sector stakeholders are met
  • Coordinating response resource needs across impacted areas and sectors and provide overall situational awareness and response recommendations
  • Coordinating with DHS components involved with preparedness and response
  • Execute an effective Federal inter-agency communications strategy with Federal partners in response to a pandemic
  • Ensuring situational awareness, in coordination with the NOC
  • Working with the Regional PFOs to develop and execute their supporting regional objectives as appropriate.

Each of the five Regional PFOs maintains and coordinates actions for their Regional Area of Responsibility (see Figure 7-2), and will be co-located within a designated JFO. These PFOs, with regional responsibility, operate under the authority and direction of the National PFO. The Regional PFOs will have the same roles and responsibilities as the National PFO, but within their assigned regions.

In addition, in order to provide effective regional response coordination and situational awareness, two Deputy PFOs will be assigned for each Regional Area of Responsibility. One Deputy PFO will be co-located with the Regional PFO at the designated regional JFO, while the second Deputy PFO will be located at the other JFO within each Regional Area of Responsibility.

Within each JFO, and at the National PFO level, senior Federal officials from HHS, liaisons from DHS/Infrastructure Protection, Defense Coordinating Officers from the Department of Defense (DoD), and Federal Coordinating Officers from DHS/FEMA will work with the designated National and Regional PFOs as part of a Unified Coordination Group. Other Federal Agency and Department senior officials and liaisons are assigned to either the Regional or National PFO level, as appropriate.

The Interior Regional Emergency Coordination Councils (I-RECCs) serve as the critical element for the Department’s regional coordination with the Federal Regional Areas of Responsibility for Pandemic Influenza. Members of the I-RECCs serve as primary point of contact for the Department to maintain liaison and coordination with the FEMA Regions, and to coordinate emergency activities across DOI Bureaus and Offices on a regional basis. The I-RECCs enhance mutual support within the regions among DOI Bureaus/Offices, FEMA, other Federal Agencies, States, Tribes, territorial, and local governments in preparation/planning for, and responding to, the pandemic.

Since the I-RECC scheme is based on the FEMA Regions, there are members I-RECC members represented in each FEMA Region. However, as noted above, with each of the Federal Regional Areas of Responsibility for Pandemic Influenza covering two FEMA Regions, the I-RECCs will be also paired up to mirror the Federal Regional Areas of Responsibility scheme.

Once the Regional PFOs and Regional JFOs are activated, in FGRS 3 (widespread human outbreaks in multiple locations overseas), I-RECC members are activated by the Departmental Emergency Coordinator or the I-RECC Chair. Upon activation, the I-RECC members are responsible for sharing information on Bureau/Office emergency response activities and capabilities, and facilitate response activities. They also are responsible for providing information on situational awareness of Bureau/Office regional activities, as well as Federal Government’s regional activities, interagency coordination and information originating from the Regional JFOs, PFOs, and other entities.

During this activation, the I-RECC Chair (or designated I-RECC member) represents Departmental emergency management concerns in the Federal Areas of Responsibilities for Pandemic Influenza, and facilitates the flow of information among I-RECC members, JFO and PFO Regional officials, and other Departments and Agencies within the region engaged in pandemic-related activities of concern to DOI. In addition, the I-RECC Chair provides situational awareness of these regional activities to the Interior Operations Center so that the Interior Operations Center can report it to DOI Senior Leadership, Emergency Coordinators, and others, as the situation dictates.

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