On February 28, 2003, President Bush signed HPSD-5, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to develop the National Incident Management System (NIMS), for all-hazards incident management. The AVMA encourages comprehensive, nationwide use of NIMS, in accordance with the Presidential Directive.
The nationwide pet food recall in 2007 brought into focus the need for federal agency coordination and use of NIMS. Some elements that should be considered by federal agencies, such as FDA, in the context of food and feed events, include the following:
- Setting up a multiagency coordinating (MAC) group with all applicable agencies and non-governmental organizations, to develop policy to prepare for future events,
- Setting up multiagency unified command for efficient incident management in response to events,
- Designing a Joint Information Center with all stakeholders to maintain updates and to provide advice during emergency response, and
- Adopting the Joint Information System to effectively communicate and disseminate information to the public.
The AVMA believes that implementation of the NIMS will help to ensure an ever stronger food safety system for our nation.
AVMA sent its letter on May 28, 2008