Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Scientist Professional Advisory Committee

ASPR deployment for the Republican National Convention, Cleveland, Ohio, 2016

By CAPT Kate Brett

Epidemiologist
Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

What was the mission of this deployment?

Mission: This was an ASPR deployment for the 2016 Republican National Convention. Dates: July 15-July 23, 2016. Location: Cleveland, Ohio.

 

What was your role during this deployment? What skills (scientific, personal, etc.) did you use during your deployment?

Role: I was working in the planning section of the IRCT, working on creating the SitRep, and doing personnel accountability. 

Skills: The skills that I needed to come to the position with was ability to learn new computer applications (PARS and EMPortal), good interpersonal skills, flexibility and a good attitude. The IRCT now has its own training and credentialing system and each person who deploys to the IRCT will be issued a Position Task Book (PTB) and a Job Action Sheet. On each deployment, all personnel in the IRCT (intermittent federal employees and USPHS Officers) work to learn the needs of the job and then receive both an evaluation of performance and signatures in the PTB for skills that were adequately learned and demonstrated during the deployment.

 

Was this your first deployment?

No, I have deployed more than 10 times over my career.

 

What was the most important thing you learned during this deployment? Any tips/tricks to share with fellow scientist officers?

During the deployment, I was able to get both the Resource Unit Leader and Situation Unit Leader PTB completed. In February 2017, I received word I had been credentialed in both areas, which means that all future deployments, I am qualified to do those jobs without oversight by others.

 

What did you enjoy the most (e.g., favorite memory) about this deployment?

I enjoyed working with all of the people, seeing the effort to deploy medical assets into the field as well as keep track of everyone who were moving around constantly.

 

What would you consider to be your major accomplishment stemming from this deployment?

The major accomplishment was that I got both PBTs completed and that I learned the various forms and applications needed to be used whenever an IRCT is set up.

 

What were some of the main challenges that you experienced during this deployment?

We were not initially set up to do 24 work hours, but the planning section needed to keep track of all personnel movement. The problem was that none of the people assigned to track movement helped solve the problem by suggesting that we have a split night shift, where two people were on 12-12 shifts (one am, one pm) and everyone else work 7-7. This meant that the two night people also worked days and could be mentored by others, there were enough cars to get the night people to the hotel and back (only 2 cars assigned to planning section personnel but night people could catch rides with others), and no one was working by themselves the whole time. Before that, though, I had the "opportunity" to man the phone all night, where I had worked all day and then had to log changes in personnel location all night. I got virtually no sleep that day.

 

How did you prepare for the deployment – personally or work-wise?

At work, I was able to have 4 weeks of lead time and could get things set up so my absence was not a problem.

For the deployment role, I had been taking on-line and in-person training for the previous few years to get ready for planning section deployments.

Personally, I prepared just by making sure my spouse was aware of everything that he needed to do, the things I normally was in charge of.

 

Were there any classes, trainings that you had completed prior to your deployment that helped you in your current deployment?

IS-300 and IS-400 are really important for IRCT deployments and they total 5 days of on-site training so need to be worked in as you can. The other trainings will be provided once a person is assigned to a NIST or RIST team, as these are the only teams that will be deployed to an IRCT currently.

 

How was your post deployment/reintegration experience? Was it smooth to transition back to your daily life as experienced prior to deployment?

Other than having 100s of e-mails to attend to once I got back, the transition was just fine.

 

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