Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Image of Front page of newspaper. Cover of Fort Knox’s base newspaper announcing a medical exercise in June 2007. (Courtesy Photo by Fort Knox Public Affairs)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

More than 13 years before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, a group of about 100 area organizations gathered at Fort Knox, Kentucky to work on plans to combat it, or something similar.

Nobody knew about the coronavirus back then. In fact, they weren’t even focused on the next big pandemic coming from a family of viruses that includes the common cold. Their one-day tabletop exercise pondered how they would respond if the next big influenza outbreak hit the area.

“Back then, we were planning for an avian flu pandemic, which turned out to be not so big of a deal,” said Joel Tiotuico, plans officer for the Plans and Operations Division at Fort Knox Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “The planning for that pandemic was basically because we thought it was going to turn out like COVID-19 has.”

Tiotuico was charged with leading base’s efforts back in mid-May 2007. He and Sara Jo Best, director of Lincoln Trail District Health Department, gathered together about 100 people from local, county, state and federal organizations for the exercise, including several from each of 10 counties that surround Fort Knox.

“We had a really good turnout that year,” said Best, who mentioned that she had been promoted to oversee the preparedness department at the organization about three years prior. “We were tasked with developing emergency response plans, getting people trained to be able to respond; developing a community coalition to plan for emergency disasters. All that included Fort Knox.”

Tiotuico said the 2007 exercise was likely the first event at Fort Knox that emphasized coordination and cooperation among so many different organizations to discuss how best to deal with a potential pandemic from a medical capacity.

“Emergencies like fires, tornados, and ice storms — those are immediate action events. Whereas a pandemic similar to COVID-19 kind of starts slowly, and you’re reacting to something you don’t see, or don’t know it’s happening at first; you’re trying to prevent it from happening,” said Tiotuico. “In that tabletop exercise, we found out the best way to fight it was to try and prevent it.”

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

“Most of our guidance on this plan, up to now, was from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” said Tiotuico. “We had decision points, when to get people on telework, when to close stores and schools — it was all in the plan.”

Tiotuico and Best said they remember the threats posed by the H5N1 bird flu scare of 2006, though other strains of that particular influenza had been around since at least 1997. According to news reports, the 2006 strain was predicted by health experts to reach unprecedented numbers of deaths if not mitigated. By May of 2007, Department of Defense officials released a guidebook from which to start planning for a possible flu pandemic.

The 2007 Fort Knox exercise formed as a result of these concerns, said Tiotuico. The results were then placed into a document that could be revised over the years to fit whatever scenarios installation officials may face.

He also elicited the help of a preventive medicine doctor, who produced an 800-page clinical paper, from which Tiotuico modified it to about 150 pages.

“It’s pretty lengthy because everybody plays a part in it, from logistics to family welfare departments, to the schools and emergency management; even the commander himself,” said Tiotuico.

Fast-forward to March 2020, Tiotuico said leaders had voiced concerns about what measures needed to be taken when COVID-19 hit the United States. They approached him.

Tiotuico said the key to effective planning comes from having a flexible document that allows leaders to quickly adjust and make informed decisions when disasters hit.

You also may be interested in...

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Publication
6/9/2021

Learn how the different COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines (Combined)

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn about the vaccines, how they work and safety precautions.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Facemask Required

Infographic
6/4/2021
Facemask Required

While the CDC relaxed mask requirements for vaccinated people, you're still required to wear masks in health care settings. Print this poster and put it around your facility to let patients and visitors know the requirements.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Article
6/4/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab.

Approximately 800 Army Reserve soldiers from the U.S. and Europe participated in DEFENDER-Europe 21.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Readiness Capabilities

Mental Health Panel Discusses Impact of COVID-19

Article
6/3/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask speaking on a panel

Walter Reed Bethesda hosts mental health panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | | Psychological Fitness

Based on data, MHS experts encourage vaccines for adolescents

Article
6/1/2021
Sister and brother smiling at each other

With the Pfizer vaccine approved for youth ages 12 to 15, MHS adolescents are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health

MSMR Vol. 28 No. 06 - June 2021

Report
6/1/2021

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: The cost of lower extremity fractures among active duty U.S. Army soldiers, 2017; Early identification of SARS-CoV-2 emergence in the Department of Defense via retrospective analysis of 2019–2020 upper respiratory illness samples; Brief report: Medical encounters for snakebite envenomation, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016–2020; Department of Defense mid-season vaccine effectiveness estimates for the 2019–2020 influenza season.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Video
5/28/2021
Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Dr. LC Collins explains the years of research and ongoing monitoring to show how mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

What is an mRNA vaccine?

Video
5/28/2021
What is an mRNA vaccine?

Dr. LC Collins explains how mRNA vaccines work to protect you from COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. LC Collins encourages people who are breastfeeding to get the vaccine. Since the vaccine doesn't contain live virus, you can't pass COVID to your baby.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting the first vaccine available to you. Don't hold out for a certain brand; they're all safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID. We're not sure how long natural immunity lasts, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

“Shots in arms” – OPT planned & coordinated to meet COVID-19 mission

Article
5/28/2021
Military personnel sitting around a table talking

The Department of Defense’s COVID-19 Operational Planning Team has been the quiet force behind the DOD’s vaccination effort since November.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Infographic
5/27/2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Keep track of your vaccination card. Tips include keeping your card on you and taking a picture of it as a backup copy.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 136 - 150 Page 10 of 55
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.