alert - warning

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KPF 1: Detect and Characterize the Threat

Timely detection and accurate characterization of a biological incident are key components of an effective response. Early actions such as incident detection and characterization, resource mobilization, and disease containment can save lives. In the context of the malicious use of a biological agent, prompt detection and precise characterization can also help prevent and/or mitigate a potential follow-on incident. Biological incidents are primarily detected through human health surveillance systems and environmental monitoring barring the presence of an overt indication (e.g., a white powder, intelligence, an eyewitness to an intentional release, announcement of attack, etc.). While public health officials will primarily lead detection and characterization activities, emergency management planners should be familiar with the processes for detection and characterization and how to support these efforts to mitigate incident impacts, maximize the safety of responders, forecast potential resource coordination needs, and determine how the specifics of the biological agent or disease involved may affect various aspects of the response under their charge.