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Planning, Decision-Support, and Modeling Resources for Biological Incidents

Biological incidents, whether naturally occurring (e.g., the 2003 SARS outbreak) or deliberately caused (e.g., the 2001 Amerithrax incident), may require the use of specialized resources that can assist response and recovery efforts. For example, modeling and simulation tools can help synthesize available information, provide timely analysis, and guide planning decisions at various jurisdictional levels. Modeling encompasses the engineering of a specialized tool to represent an event, while simulation is the use of the model to study a system or behavior.

Modeling and simulation tools can support SLTT planning and response activities by providing information on exposure risk, timing and location of illnesses and injuries, estimation of resources needed and their source, and other data needed to build situational awareness. Both modeling and simulation tools require inputs (e.g., incident time, population size, resources available) to provide outputs (e.g., percentage of population at risk, resources needed, POD location recommendations, Geographic Information System [GIS] maps, etc.), which emergency managers can then use for planning and decision-making. Modeling and simulation tools can also help define the geographic area in which people, animals, and the environment may be affected by a biological agent release and help estimate the population at risk.