The Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness, Response, and Recovery (ZAHP) Fusion Center, currently in its second year, was created to serve as a conduit between the emergency management sector and the greater managed wildlife community. Funded by USDA and operated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the ZAHP Fusion Center works with key players in emergency management across the country to connect the managed wildlife community with information on the five critical National Preparedness mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.
In its first year, the ZAHP Fusion Center focused on several key objectives: laying the groundwork for a Secure Zoo program prototype that will guide facilities in improving their overall emergency preparedness and business resiliency and continuity; continuing work on the Zoo Ready project which provides training and exercises to prepare the zoological community for disasters; conducting a gap analysis amongst AZA institutions to assess the current level of preparedness in that community and inform future planning; and creating channels of communication through which important information and resources could be shared with the whole managed wildlife community. The Center was also very active in informing and preparing the managed wildlife community during the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak that began in late 2014 through regular updates, facilitating discussions with state and federal partners, and hosting open calls with representatives from USDA. Through these efforts, members of the managed wildlife community could receive the most current information direct from the source and answers to pertinent questions.
Moving forward, the ZAHP Fusion Center will continue the work outlined above while expanding to include additional projects such as the development of contingency planning workshop curriculum and a hoof and mouth disease outbreak management plan that will complement the Secure Zoo project. The Center is also looking to expand the AZA’s efforts in training zoo and aquarium professionals in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) to create a larger network of potential responders in the event of an oil spill and other un-natural disasters.
ZAHP Fusion Center Website