US FDA Agency Deployment/Activation, 2017
By CAPT Dominic Frasca, PhD
Office of Emergency Operations
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
What was the mission of this deployment?
I staffed the FDA (Agency) Incident Management Group (IMG) at the FDA EOC, located at White Oak (Silver Spring MD), from 8/27/17 through 11/13/2017. I also continued to work with HHS/ASPR on long term items once the FDA response group stood down in November.
What was your role during this deployment?
I served as the Deputy Planning Section Chief first 2 weeks. For the remainder of my time, I served as the Deputy Agency Incident Coordinator.
Was this your first deployment?
No. I have deployed three times as part of PHS responses, and over a dozen times in agency deployments.
What was the most important thing you learned during this deployment?
What did you enjoy the most about this deployment?
Camaraderie amongst the responders on the IMG.
What were some of the challenges that you experienced during this deployment?
- High stress/high pressure demands
- Long working hours (15-hour days)
- Extended activation (late August through mid-November)
How did you prepare for the deployment – personally or work-wise?
I let my family know that I wasn't going to be available much, for an indeterminate amount of time. Routine work was delegated to others who had not been activated (fortunately a staffer on my group was capable of handling her own incident without supervision).
Were there any classes, trainings that you had completed prior to your deployment that helped you in your current deployment?
I have taken a variety of Incident Management training – ICS 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, and 800; a Planning Section Chief course; and an Incident Commander course.
How was your post deployment/reintegration experience? Was it smooth to transition back to your daily life as experienced prior to deployment?
It's become routine...it's what we do.
Do you have any advice or “pearls of wisdom” for fellow officers who are being deployed/interested in deploying?
Always remain flexible in your expectations (where you're going, what you're doing).
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