CDC Establishes Command Center in Response to Hurricane Matthew
On October 3, 2016, as Haiti braced itself for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, DGHP’s Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) swung into action. For the first time the team activated the Incident Management System (IMS) of ERRB’s Operations Room to support the agency’s Hurricane Matthew international response efforts. Although Hurricane Matthew was not projected to make landfall in Haiti until October 4, ERRB’s technical teams began coordinating with the CDC Haiti Country Office and the CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response’s Division of Emergency Operations on September 30, three days before the storm hit. ERRB mobilized its Global Response Preparedness Team (GRPT) and Global Rapid Response Team (Global RRT) to staff the ERRB Operations Room at CDC’s Century Center campus. Using its on-call deployment roster, the Global RRT quickly identified CDC staff with the technical and language skills needed for the first wave of responders to deploy to Haiti. Members of ERRB’s Humanitarian Health Team and Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Team were among the first responders to deploy to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew struck.
On November 10, 2016, the ERRB Operations Room stood down and the IMS was deactivated. As an after-action exercise, ERRB is evaluating its role in the response and will use that feedback to improve the next branch-level IMS response.
The presence of ERRB’s Operation Room, the capability to quickly activate the IMS and deploy staff through the Global RRT improves the CDC’s ability to rapidly respond to a public health emergency and therefore enhances global health security.