The Utah Department of Health has a preparedness and emergency response program that includes managing Utah's portion of something called the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), as well as maintaining an Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR/VHP). In a State of Utah Department of Health office in Salt Lake City, Brett Cross is our manager of all this.
There are a lot of initials in the title SNS/ESAR-VHP Manager, Preparedness Program. What is it that you do?
I am kind of the counter measure program manager. I plan for responses to biological and chemical terrorist events and I have a logistics role to make sure there is adequate supply of professionals and antibiotics for things like anthrax, for instance.
Looks like you have to keep track of a lot of assets. How did you train for this?
My background includes time as an EMT, then military service in Afghanistan, ten years as a National Guard Medic and then under the GI Bill I got a degree in emergency services administration from UVU. In this current job, we do all the logistics, including four portable 25 bed hospitals to deploy where needed, mass casualty trailers, communications equipment and medical equipment to respond to all emergencies. Also, we maintain a database that has registered approximately 3,500 volunteer health professionals.
You coordinate these services with other agencies around the state?
Yeah, we have lots of meetings, we do frequent equipment checks and do a lot of relationship-building with other emergency preparedness professionals all around the state. We are similar to firemen in that we spend a lot of time getting ready for whatever may come. We plan and coordinate with many other Utah Emergency Management professionals in cities and counties throughout the state.
So, what do you do in your spare time?
Service is my passion. I volunteer with the Boy Scouts in what is called the Enterprise Risk Management Group. That is tasked with helping the Boy Scouts run a safe smooth operation. I volunteer with the Utah AIDS-HIV-STD Prevention Council. At the American Red Cross, I have two volunteer jobs. I am the Utah-Nevada Regional Disaster Officer Volunteer Counterpart and I provide resource mobilization and support for the pacific region. As a veteran, I am part of Team Rubicon and am the Veteran Disaster Based Field Ops Coordinator. I am in the Salt Lake City Medical Reserve Corps, am president of the Utah Emergency Management Association, am President of my Home Owners Association and a few other jobs. And then I go home and watch NCIS.
You do an awful lot of things. Why do you take on so much?
I wish I knew.