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 | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

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 Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

Get to know the vaccines – they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Line Leader Presentation (PDF)

Publication
8/4/2021

This document is identical to the PowerPoint presentation for line leader reference and use.

Recommended Content:

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

Line Leader Presentation (Powerpoint)

Publication
8/4/2021

Leaders across the Department can leverage this briefing deck to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with their troops. Don't forget to reference speaker notes and to personalize the title slide!

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Facts about Getting the COVID Vaccine at the Same Time as Others

Publication
6/9/2021

Printable PDF of VAX Fact Infographic

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts

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:

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

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring

Publication
6/9/2021

The FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates.

Recommended Content:

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

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:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | 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:

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

Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry User Guide for Service Members

Publication
6/1/2021

The following guide is designed to help service members navigate the complete registry process. It describes the registry requirements; provides an in-depth, step-by-step guide for accessing, registering, and completing the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry questionnaire; and provides instructions for scheduling the optional, in-person medical exam.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry | Environmental Exposures

COVID-19 Vaccine Leader Card

Publication
5/27/2021

This printable card provides talking points when discussing the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers who are reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The card lists common concerns and impressions, top 5 key messages, and supporting facts about the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Unit Leader Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for preparation, delivery, and navigation of small group discussions (recommended 1-5 people to facilitate greatest engagement) with servicemembers reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The guide promotes an open dialogue regarding vaccine hesitancy and complacency by addressing concerns, building trust, and boosting vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Provider Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for Military Health System (MHS) providers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers during routine visits. Initiating a COVID-19 vaccine conversation during servicemember visits will allow you to effectively address concerns, build trust, and boost vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Adolescents Ages 12 and Over

Publication
5/13/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for those ages 12 and over. Includes a photo of adolescents at the top of the page, has the TRICARE logo at the bottom right. Links in the content include www.TRICARE.mil/VaccineAppointments and www.Vaccines.gov.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Vaccine Eligibility

VAX Facts How Long does Protection Last?

Publication
4/21/2021

Printable PDF of VAX Fact Infographic

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

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.