Delaware Public Health Preparedness Program
By providing the baseline for growth and development through prior work experiences, Delta has been retained since April 2011 by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) to provide staff to conduct a plan alignment and integration project aimed at bringing all of the separate DPH plans together under a single Federal Emergency Management Agency Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 (CPG-101)-compliant DPH Emergency Response Plan. Furthermore, Delta was tasked with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program-compliant exercise support to build on the planning efforts. This exercise support included planning, conduct, evaluation, and plan revision.
Delta continues to support DPH under their current contractual arrangement as follows:
Planning: Currently, Delta has revised all existing plans by aligning them as target capability-oriented annexes. These existing plans were then formatted and merged into single, annex-specific plans that were revised to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning (March 2012). They are also being arranged into a CPG-101-compliant format, which will result in a single, integrated public health response plan. Each year, different target capability-based annexes are focused on and thoroughly revised with practical yet innovative approaches.
Exercises: Deta has provided support to both discussion-based and operations-based exercises for DPH. This includes a statewide seminar on public health preparedness, a statewide anthrax functional exercise, and a regional hospital evacuation tabletop exercise. All exercises are based on the science of the scenario to ensure maximum pressure on existing plans, policies, and procedures in order to reveal best practices and areas for future focus.
Hurricane Sandy: Delta provided evaluation support for the Hurricane Sandy response. Staff were embedded in the State Health Operations Center during the hurricane and met with staff for debriefings over a period of several weeks. A comprehensive and exhaustive After-Action Report was developed that provided insight and detail on how to address planning, training, and equipment issues. Furthermore, it stressed areas where Delaware had done well and should continue to develop. Through a meeting of stakeholders, an Improvement Plan was developed and will be the basis for planning and training efforts for several years to come.
DPH’s efforts to have integrated plans validated by real-world and exercise evaluation have provided valuable data. Staff who have participated in Delta-designed and conducted exercises have taken to heart the information learned through their experiences and adjusted their approach to addressing their responsibilities; and planners have been challenged to redefine the building blocks of their approach to incident management. Overall, DPH has embraced the approach Delta has utilized and found it to be highly valuable in achieving their long-term goals.