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

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

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

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...

It’s Not Over Yet: Some COVID Safety Precautions Remain Necessary

Article
7/22/2021
a crowd of people

Returning to society when fully vaccinated is great but keep that mask handy

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

How COVID-19 fast-tracked innovation in the Military Health System

Article
7/20/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 test

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of healthcare delivery, the Military Health System responded with new and innovative ways to fight the disease and deliver safe, quality care to patients.

Recommended Content:

Health Innovation Month | Innovation | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Got Your 6

Video
7/16/2021
Got your 6

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil. Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID vaccinations rise -- but so do concerns of the Delta variant

Article
7/1/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask preparing a COVID-19 vaccine

MHS expected to reach 70% COVID-10 vaccination rate in July.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Video
6/29/2021
COVID-19 Delta war infographic

Like our enemies in the past, the coronavirus has adapted and we're now dealing with the most transmissible variant yet, Delta. The fight can be won with vaccination. If you're not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, go get your shot today. Otherwise you're at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic stating that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. The variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

The Delta Variant: Are You Protected?

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic with the title, “Are you Protected?” and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right. States that the Delta variant of the virus is spreading and that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective against the Delta Variant. If you've received your first dose, don't forget to get your second dose.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Fact Check

Infographic
6/28/2021
A Fact Check graphic. Features a quote in the center of the graphic and states that the Delta variant is a reason to get vaccinated. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right. Links to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine

The Delta variant of the virus is a reason to get vaccinated. This variant spreads easily, with increased rates of sickness and hospitalization.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: Stop the Spread

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic describing the Delta variant. Includes three bullet points describing the variant and a link to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine and includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right.

The Delta variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low. Visit www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine to learn more.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Delta Variant: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Article
6/28/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Delta variant spreading rapidly; it’s time to get vaccinated

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

Got Your 6: June 26, 2021

Video
6/25/2021
Got Your 6 Infographic

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Delta Variant

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
COVID-19 infographic

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Delta Variant

DHA Spearheads Effort for Working Dog Research Collaboration

Article
6/25/2021
Picture of three different dogs

Working Dog Forum explored research to keep dogs in top form.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Veterinary Service | Public Health | Research and Innovation

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 | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | 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:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 57

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.