Supporting First Response to Large-Scale Biological Events


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The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense will premiere a virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 23. Titled, Holding the Line on Biodefense: Supporting First Response to Large-Scale Biological Events, leaders from the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials will be among those discussing their response to COVID-19 and how the federal government can better support first responders during a biological incident.

“Police, fire, emergency medical services, hazmat, dispatchers and other first responders form the backbone of local government efforts to react to biological threats,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Senator Joe Lieberman. “The federal government has left the Nation’s first responders ill-equipped and underinformed when it comes to addressing events like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to hearing from these outstanding national leaders who can provide valuable insights into what steps the federal government must take to prevent similar problems during future biological events.”

Among those scheduled to present are Dia Gainor, Executive Director, National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials and Rob Brown, Executive Director, International Association of Fire Chiefs.

“First responders require resources and information so that they can effectively manage the biological threat, keep the public informed, and make decisions about using medical countermeasures themselves,” said Commission Co-Chair, former Governor Tom Ridge. “The Commission’s 2018 report that focused on state, local, tribal and territorial governments uncovered vulnerabilities for first responders. The pandemic reminds us that these aren’t some fictional scenarios we must plan for, but real-time crises that require strong support from the federal government.” 

The meeting will be held virtually on March 23 beginning at 10am. To register, and for a full list of participants, please visit the events page on the Commission website,

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