A benchmark system to optimize our defense against an attack on the US food supply using the Risk Reduction Effectiveness and Capabilities Assessment Program
Keywords:emergency response, food terrorism, simulation, public health preparedness, intervention, food defense
Objective: A predictive system was developed and tested in a series of exercises with the objective of evaluating the preparedness and effectiveness of the multiagency response to food terrorism attacks.
Design: A computerized simulation model, Risk Reduction Effectiveness and Capabilities Assessment Program (RRECAP), was developed to identify the key factors that influence the outcomes of an attack and quantify the relative reduction of such outcomes caused by each factor.
Setting: The model was evaluated in a set of Tabletop and Full-Scale Exercises that simulate biological and chemical attacks on the food system.
Participants: More than 300 participants representing more than 60 federal, state, local, and private sector agencies and organizations.
Results: The exercises showed that agencies could use RRECAP to identify and prioritize their advance preparation to mitigate such attacks with minimal expense. RRECAP also demonstrated the relative utility and limitations of the ability of medical resources to treat patients if responders do not recognize and mitigate the attack rapidly, and the exercise results showed that proper advance preparation would reduce these deficiencies.
Conclusions: Using computer simulation prediction of the medical outcomes of food supply attacks to identify optimal remediation activities and quantify the benefits of various measures provides a significant tool to agencies in both the public and private sector as they seek to prepare for such an attack.
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