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NEWS | Dec. 6, 2016

DCMA participates in pandemic influenza exercise

By Tonya Johnson DCMA Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va., Dec. 6, 2016 — Defense Contract Management Agency employees in the local commuting area here learned how to respond to a crisis during a simulated pandemic influenza exercise Nov. 15-17.

“The exercise was designed to simulate the lifecycle of a pandemic influenza event in a reduced time,” said Andre Gross, the agency’s Emergency Preparedness and Continuity of Operations program manager. “Days one and two simulated the initial response stage to the event with day three simulating a declared pandemic requiring a more robust response in an effort to mitigate the impact of the illness to the workforce.”  

During the initial response phase of the exercise, Gross and his colleagues simulated an initial influenza outbreak with sporadic reporting of increased infection rates across the nation.  

“This portion of the initial response phase was designed to enhance influenza awareness and provide employees an opportunity to practice influenza prevention measures and techniques,” he said. “Because we were in the initial stage of a simulated pandemic influenza environment, hand sanitizer, protective surgical masks and awareness stations were set up at major entrances.”  

Some of the influenza prevention tips offered included frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer and limiting close physical contact with personnel who might seem ill. Additional information on steps to take to prevent influenza can be accessed here. 

“The planning team did a great job of planning and executing the exercise,” said Hugh Wiley, DCMA’s director of Security and Counterintelligence. “Exercises such as this provide the workforce an opportunity to learn, think through and practice the procedures they would use in a real world crisis situation. Such exercises serve as a cornerstone to readiness.”    

During the second day of the exercise, the event simulated a high-infection rate reporting nationwide. Employees were encouraged to continue practicing the influenza prevention techniques learned on day one. In addition, Emergency Response Team members passed out protective surgical masks for employees to wear, which if used in a real-life scenario, would provide further protection against illness. 

“We provided the protective surgical masks as an opportunity for employees to become familiar with the wear, use and challenges of performing their job duties while wearing a protective surgical mask in a pandemic environment,” said Gross. 

On the last day of the exercise, employees were encouraged to telework, which leaders could authorize if an actual influenza or other health crisis occurred. A survey will be available soon for employees to provide feedback on whether they faced any challenges teleworking during the exercise. 

“We need employees to provide feedback, and I encourage employees to take the survey,” said Gross. “It is a quick survey, and the information gathered can help us in future exercises.”

Overall, Gross said he is pleased with the exercise and the initial feedback he has received. 

Gross said he would like to plan future exercises around the agency to make sure employees are prepared for a variety of incidents.

“Preparation is key and we want to make sure employees know how to respond to protect themselves and their loved ones during a crisis,” he said.

Contact Public Affairs

Defense Contract Management Agency
Attn:  DCMA - DCC Office of Strategic Communication
3901 A Avenue Building 10500 Fort Lee, VA 23801 

Media Relations:  804-873-8011
Email: dcma.lee.hq.mbx.DCMA-Public-Affairs@mail.mil
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