Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Legal and political realities dictate that each State bears ultimate responsibility for the safety and welfare of its citizens. In times of crisis, however, it may be necessary for States to share information and resources with one another to support a coordinated response. The need for interstate coordination and mutual aid assistance is driven by several factors:
The Implications of Interstate Incident Strategy Conflict:
A stark example of the problems with conflicting interstate response strategies was evident in the National Capital Area when West Nile Virus arrived in the summer of 2000. Montgomery County, Maryland, elected to spray for mosquitoes when the virus was detected in a mosquito pool on the border with the District of Columbia. In contrast, the District followed expert advice and elected not to spray. The conflicting policies and their rationale were not explained to the public until a media controversy erupted, causing significant public unrest that consumed public officials' time and attention.
Interstate coordination is an effective way to promote the optimal distribution of available medical and public health resources in support of overall MSCC. It enables affected States to share information, including incident goals (known as "control objectives" in NIMS) and operational period objectives defined by incident command, so that a consistent response strategy can be implemented across State borders.
To be effective, interstate coordination must entail the following:
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