News27 October 2001
Governor Scott McCallum's Summary of Wisconsin Terrorism Preparedness Efforts for this Week
From: Gleason, Edward Sent: Friday, October 26, 2001 1:45 PM To: *DMA-WEM Central; *DMA-WEM Regional Offices; *Legislative All Assembly; *Legislative All Senate; Albert, Phil; Anderson, Thomas; Subject: Governor's Terrorism Preparedness Weekly Update Responding to the September 11 Terrorist Attacks: Wisconsin's Terrorism Preparedness Efforts October 26, 2001 Report I had the occasion today to fly on the first Midwest Express flight from Reagan National Airport to Milwaukee since September 11. The suspension hit Midwest Express particularly hard, as flights to Reagan National accounted for about 10% of its traffic. I am pleased that operations are resuming back to normal and I will continue do whatever we can to support Midwest Express and Wisconsin airlines. The following summarizes Wisconsin's terrorism preparedness efforts over the past week: Suspicious Letters and Anthrax Threats The past week we continued to see a number of suspicious letters and packages disrupting business and government activities and stretching the resources of our public safety community. Our anthrax emergency response protocols, developed and modified over the past several weeks, have helped in our response efforts, but I realize that uncertainty remains and there is still a high degree of anxiety on the part of the public because of developments on the east coast. To date, over 300 tests have been conducted in Wisconsin and it is important to note that all have tested negative for anthrax. Public Health Issues To meet the needs of health officials, the Department of Health and Human Services is conducting weekly conference calls with all local public health departments around the state to standardize response and provide current information on issues of concern. Wisconsin Assembly Hearing on Bioterrorism On October 22, the Assembly's Public Health Committee held a public hearing on Wisconsin's State of Preparedness for Bioterrorism. Secretary Dubé, Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS), and Administrator Gleason, Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) who co-chair my Task Force on Terrorism Preparedness testified before Chairperson Frank Urban and his committee about Wisconsin's preparedness efforts. Other members of the Task Force testifying were Dr. Jeff Davis, State Epidemiologist, Dr. Dennis Maki, UW Hospital and Dr. Stephen Hargarten, Froedtert Hospital. Protecting Our Drinking Water The Department of Natural Resource's (DNR) drinking water program continues to provide assistance and guidance to public drinking water facilities. DNR is also developing training for program personnel regarding security measures as well as response procedures in the event of a chem/bio terrorist incident. The Public Service Commission (PSC) is hosting a meeting of water utilities on November 14. This meeting, similar to the PSC's efforts with the telephone and energy utilities held October 3, will provide water utilities an opportunity to share security practices implemented and other efforts to date. The DNR and WEM have also been invited to participate. Protecting Our Food Supply On October 25, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) issued a press release describing safety measures that have been in place to protect the food supply. DATCP has about 110 inspectors that oversee food safety in grocery stores, dairies, meat processors, bakeries and other food processors in the state. DATCP also contracts with additional inspectors to help with oversight. Additionally, DATCP has also prepared a comprehensive emergency plan to address suspicious events involving the food chain. Department of Corrections has implemented strict food safety procedures on state run farms in response to the Foot and Mouth Disease alert that was issued earlier this year. Coordination with Law Enforcement The FBI is providing regular informational briefings for state and local law enforcement each Friday. To date, the FBI has received over 360,000 leads nationwide with 3,500 leads received in Wisconsin. The State Patrol, DNR, WEM and Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) have been attending these meetings to ensure that the state law enforcement remains abreast of the current situation. In cooperation with DCI, the FBI is exploring the ability to disseminate information over the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Network to our law enforcement community thereby facilitating information flow. Additionally, the FBI briefs WEM several times a week to ensure I remain abreast of federal efforts. To date, no credible threats have been directed toward Wisconsin. Meeting with Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association Executive Board On October 24, DCI Administrator Jim Warren and WEM Administrator Ed Gleason met with Wisconsin's Fire Chiefs to discuss terrorism preparedness issues related to fire service and law enforcement. Incident Command was a topic that generated considerable discussion. Although progress has been made in this area, the need for more training and further acceptance by all levels of the public safety community were the primary concerns. WEM has developed training classes in this area and will continue to make this a high priority in the coming months. National Guard Activations The women and men of the Department of Military Affairs are actively involved in America's response to the attacks on September 11 - applying their skills wherever needed. From the 128th Air Refueling Wing, the 115th Fighter Wing, the 128th Air Control Squadron and their subordinate units we have people serving at Madison, Milwaukee, Volk Field and elsewhere. The largely unpublicized service of these men and women has been a major contribution to the total effort and continues to be vital to sustaining it. Aviation Security at our Major Airports National Guard airmen and soldiers are on duty at seven Wisconsin airports. They are augmenting the security operations at the following airports: Austin Straubel (Green Bay), Central Wisconsin (Mosinee), Dane County Regional (Madison), General Mitchell International (Milwaukee), La Crosse Municipal, Outagamie County (Appleton), and Wittman Regional (Oshkosh). Our soldiers and airmen will be on duty at these locations for the next four to six months. General Aviation Security Wisconsin's Department of Transportation has created an aviation security unit that is working to address security issues with general aviation. In Wisconsin, we have over 740 landing facilities statewide with about 150-200 being public landing airports. Wis DOT Bureau of Aeronautics developed General Aviation Airport Security Recommendation and mailed these to all airport operators on October 17. Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection contacted the state crop dusting association and forwarded them the document "Security Considerations for Agricultural Aircraft Operators" prepared by the National Agricultural Aviation Association. These suggested practices addressed plane, equipment and grounds security. Homeland Defense The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) will be conducting an assessment of Wisconsin's level of preparedness on Oct 31. This assessment is being done in all states and terroritories to determine the readiness levels of state and local governments. This assessment will take a snap shot as to what the state and local governments are capable of doing right now and then will address shortfalls. In addition to FEMA, representatives from the departments of Justice, Defense and Health and Human Services will participate in our assessment. We will have representatives from respective agencies of state government to meet with their federal counterparts. FEMA will forward the completed nationwide assessment to the Office of Homeland Security led by Governor Ridge. Governor's Terrorism Preparedness Task Force I am pleased to announce that Dr Stephen Hargarten, Professor and Chair, Medical College of Wisconsin/Froedtert Hospital's Department of Emergency Medicine has been named to the Task Force. Dr. Hargarten will bring additional perspective on emergency medical and trauma response capabilities and needs. I look forward to his contributions in our efforts to ensure Wisconsin is prepared. The Task Force will review the work that has been done to date and provide guidance and direction for work that remains. The Task Force is comprised of members from the public health, law enforcement, fire service, emergency medical service, agriculture, information technology, emergency management, and volunteer agencies. Members of the Task Force will work with other leaders in their response communities to ensure we are aware of the strengths and gaps in our current preparedness efforts. The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for November 9 in Madison. The Task Force developed "Frequently Asked Questions About Terrorism", which can be found at www.wisconsin.gov. Statewide Domestic Preparedness Strategic Plan On October 25, Wisconsin Emergency Management forwarded Wisconsin's Statewide Domestic Preparedness Strategic Plan to the U.S Department of Justice. This plan assesses the threats and vulnerabilities as perceived by our counties and the state, addresses current capabilities and identifies needs at both the state and local level. Wisconsin becomes the 10th state to complete the plan. Attorney General Ashcroft has directed all states to complete their assessments by December 15. Once the plan is completed and approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, it will free up $2.6 million for equipment grants for our first responders. To date, approximately $1 million has been distributed primarily to the eight Regional Hazardous Materials Level A Teams, Milwaukee and Dane Counties, State Patrol, bomb squads, DNR, DHFS, State Lab of Hygiene, Capitol Police and UW Police. The funds are to be used for personal protective, detection and monitoring, and communications equipment. Employee and State Building Security Capitol Police continues to work with state agencies to raise security levels. All state agencies have been very aggressive in meeting tighter security standards. Capitol Police continues to conduct mail handling classes for state agencies. Some agencies have made masks and latex gloves available to mail personnel to use at their discretion. Insurance Commissioners Meet in Washington, D.C. On October 22- 24 Commissioner O'Connell and Deputy Commissioner Blumer participated in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Summit in Washington D.C. to discuss in greater depth the industry challenges related to the Sept. 11 events. Participants included key members of Congress and Bush Administration officials and industry executives in addition to the 50 state insurance commissioners.
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