Good Emergency Management Practice: The Essentials

Good Emergency
Management Practice:
The Essentials
A guide to preparing for animal health emergencies


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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2011


A disease emergency is one of the most challenging situations a veterinary service can confront. Veterinary services must be well prepared to deal with such an emergency in order to achieve rapid and cost-efficient control. To do this, the veterinary services must be prepared. They must have a well developed plan and the capacity to implement the plan.

This manual sets out in a systematic way the elements required to achieve an appropriate level of preparedness for any disease emergency in animals. In particular, this manual focuses on the control of transboundary animal diseases. Some of the principles presented may also be helpful in preparing for food safety, zoonotic and even non-infectious disease emergencies.

Table of Contents


Acronyms and abbreviations


Introduction and basic issues

Purpose of the manual
Prepare/Prevent/Respond/Recover Cycle
Factors affecting the frequency, size and length of disease emergencies
The value of planning for emergencies
The required elements of preparedness planning
A national disaster plan

Prepare: Structures

Responsibility for animal disease emergencies
Getting started – obtaining support
Determining the command structure and responsibilities
Role of central government, local authorities and the private sector

Prepare: Elements of an emergency preparedness plan

Human resource preparation
Risk analysis
Legal framework
Compensation policy
Surveillance systems
Contingency plans and operations manuals
Establishing and maintaining relationships
Response training and simulation exercises
Public awareness
Updating disease plans

Prepare: Risk analysis

Applications of risk analysis
Who conducts the risk analyses?
Quantitative vs. qualitative risk assessment
Principles of risk analysis
Risk analysis processes in animal disease emergency planning
Incorporating risk analysis into the contingency plan


Import quarantine policy
International border security
Quarantine at international airports, seaports and mail exchanges
Illegal imports
Developing cross-border contacts with neighbouring administrations
Controls on feeding unprocessed meat products and waste food (swill)
Containment of livestock
Unconfined pigs
Live animal and bird markets and slaughter places
Live bird marketing systems
Limiting contact of livestock with wildlife reservoirs
On-farm disease biosecurity
Other strategies


Surveillance: passive vs. active
Interface between field veterinary services and livestock farmers/traders
Training veterinarians and other animal health staff
Training for veterinary authority veterinarians
Field diagnostic manuals
Other sources of epidemiological data
Emergency disease reporting
Standard operating procedure for investigating suspect cases
Specialist diagnostic team
Animal health information systems
Laboratory diagnostic capabilities
Confirmation of a suspect report
International notification
Submission of samples from initial events to regional and world reference laboratories

Respond: The Basics

The three pillars of infectious disease control
Assessing the size of the initial outbreak
Movement restrictions
Culling and disposal
The geographical extent of culling: wide area culling or on a risk-assessed basis
Resource planning
Disease reproductive rates
Management information system: the key indicators of progress
Outbreak investigation

Respond: Contingency plans – their nature and structure

Structure and format of contingency plans
Contingency plan contents
Operational manuals (or standard operating procedures)
Risk enterprise manuals
Resource plans
GEMP checklist
Contingency plan and operations manual assessment tool

Respond: Command, control and communicate

The need for a command structure for emergency response
Command and control during an outbreak
Incident Command System
National Disease (Animal) Control Centre
Local Disease (Animal) Control Centres
Communication between command levels
Intersectoral coordination and stakeholder groups
Non-governmental stakeholders
Advisory groups
Difficult or marginalized areas
Communication guidelines – press and public during outbreaks
The roles and responsibilities of key personnel
The end phase


Verification of freedom
Stopping vaccination
Declaration of official recognition of animal disease status
Recovery and rehabilitation of affected farming communities
Technical and financial support
Psychological support
Staying free


A: Animal disease emergencies: their nature and potential consequences
B: Risk periods
C: Risk analysis
D: GEMP checklist
E: Planning – assessing needs

Reprint March 2013

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