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...

Do You Have COVID-19? Influenza? Or is it RSV? Here’s What to Look For

Article
1/24/2022
Military personnel preparing a COVID-19 test sample for processing

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19/RSV/Flu will help your medical treatment

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Medical Leaders Address COVID-19 Concerns During Family Forum

Article
1/21/2022
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jemuel Macabali, from San Diego, Calif., gives the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, Aug. 13, 2021.

Top health leaders talk about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections and the impact on the military community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Critically ill COVID Patient Delivers Baby While on Heart-Lung Bypass

Article
1/11/2022
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hernandez and his wife, Ashley, take a family portrait with their six children. Ashley is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Hernandez, a Marine Corps spouse and mother of five, is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus

Development of WRAIR’s Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise

Article
12/28/2021
A vial of spike ferritin nanoparticle WRAIR's COVID-19 vaccine

Series of preclinical studies supports the Army’s pan-coronavirus vaccine development strategy

Recommended Content:

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

Immunization Experts are Central to COVID-19 Vaccine Program

Article
12/20/2021
Medical director at Fort Riley, Kansas receives a COVID-19 vaccination In his left arm from a tech in personal protective equipment.

Immunization Health Division at forefront of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

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

Military Health System Marks 1-Year Anniversary for COVID Vaccinations

Article
12/14/2021
FEmale Marine gets COVID 19 vaccination in left  arm at Camp LeJeune in December 2020

More than 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered a year after first shots within MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria and How to Counter Them

Article
11/10/2021
Graphic image of a skeleton

Doctors are increasingly concerned about the potential for a “post-antibiotic” era when the highly effective drugs that we have relied on for many years to cure some of the most common illnesses will become ineffective.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Public Health

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Pregnancy Health Alert: COVID-19 Vaccine is Strongly Recommended

Article
10/20/2021
Pregnant women gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you’re pregnant or trying, DOD and CDC and advise.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Women's Health

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

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

Myths & facts about the vax - debunking common COVID-19 vaccine myths

Article
9/29/2021
Myths and facts about the vax

The COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated across the Department of Defense and despite its demonstrated effectiveness and safety, a host of myths have left some Airmen and Guardians hesitant to receive it. While social media posts and some news outlets may make it harder to keep up with what is fact or fiction, the science is clear … approved COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

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

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 21
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.