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Supplement A: Command and Control

Public Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness and Response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Version 2/3

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  • Determine and establish operational authority for a response to a SARS outbreak.
  • Establish an incident management structure for the response to a SARS outbreak, supported by adequate information systems.
  • Determine and establish legal authority for a response to a SARS outbreak.

Key concepts

  • A clear organizational structure with well-defined roles and responsibilities and operational authority is necessary for an effective response to SARS.
  • Strong leadership is essential to coordinate a SARS response, allow efficient allocation of resources, and dissemination of consistent information.
  • An incident command structure supported by the adequate information systems allows for rapid and efficient implementation of a SARS response.
  • A suitable legislative framework is necessary to impose a variety of emergency public health and containment measures, at both the individual and community levels.

Priority activities

  • Conduct local preparedness planning for a re-emergence of SARS-CoV, with participation by persons representing a range of disciplines and expertise. Draft and formally adopt a SARS response plan, or add SARS preparedness and response to an existing preparedness plan.
  • Confirm the controlling authorities for actions such as declaring a public health emergency, activating the SARS response plan, and curtailing modes of transportation.
  • Develop/reinforce relationships with health authorities of adjoining jurisdictions and with federal agencies to ensure effective communication and collaboration.
  • Learn about the legal authorities and statutes for enforcing individual and community containment measures at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Develop/adapt a predetermined incident command system to coordinate and manage SARS response activities.
  • Ensure the availability of information system(s) that can document, support, and coordinate the activities generated within an incident command system (e.g., integrate personnel and facilities, expedite real-time communication and flow of information, aid in logistics planning, resource allocation, and operational coordination).
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