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America’s First Responders Deserve Better Support From Federal Government in Preparation for Future Biological Events


WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 19, 2021) – 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, www.biodefensecommission.org/events/.

Editor’s Note: Journalists interested in interviews should contact Steve Aaron by emailing steve@SRACommunications.com.


About the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense: The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense was established in 2014 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the state of U.S. biodefense efforts, and to issue recommendations to foster change. The Commission’s 2015 report, National Blueprint for Biodefense: Leadership and Major Reform Needed to Optimize Efforts, identified capability gaps and recommended changes to U.S. policy and law to strengthen national biodefense while optimizing resource investments. Subsequent Commission publications have addressed critical needs for agrodefense, biodefense budgeting, diagnostics, science and technology, and State, Local, Tribal and Territorial capabilities. In September 2018, the White House released the National Biodefense Strategy, a top recommendation from the Blueprint. The Commission continues to address biodefense challenges and to urge reform. Former Senator Joe Lieberman and former Governor Tom Ridge co-chair the Commission, and are joined by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Representative Jim Greenwood, former Homeland Security Advisor Ken Wainstein, and former Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Lisa Monaco. Hudson Institute is the Commission’s fiscal sponsor.

Media Inquiries Contact: Steve AaronSRA Communications, (717) 554-8614


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