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Disease Surveillance Emergency Response System (SERS)

NWDP Wildlife Disease Biologist participates in an emergency response exercise in full protective gear. One of three emergency trailer/truck units owned by SERS for emergency response. 

The National Response Framework

APHIS is an emergency response agency that operates under the National Response Framework (NRF), a comprehensive guide on how the nation deals with emergencies. The NRF outlines how federal, state, tribal and local governments, along with the private sector, coordinate emergency response efforts. This framework recognizes distinct support functions that may be needed during an emergency/disaster event or incident. These Emergency Support Functions (ESF) include categories such as transportation, communications and public health/medical services.


SERS, an essential component of the National Wildlife Disease Program, serves as the primary emergency response contact point within APHIS Wildlife Services. SERS has a cadre of wildlife biologists who are prepared to be mobilized within 24-48 hours of a request. NWDP-SERS biologists are provided with extensive Incident Command System training, have current medical clearances for personal protective equipment and have participated in emergency response scenario drills. Selections for requested Incident Response Teams (IRT) depend on the specifics of the request (e.g. immobilization & euthanasia certified, shooter, etc.) and the number of people needed.

SERS will respond to requests for assistance from the following agencies and organizations:

Whether the request for emergency resources comes from within APHIS or, more broadly, from ESF, the SERS National Coordinator immediately develops an IRT composed of SERS biologists whose skills and training meet the needs of the request. Once the team is formed and dispatched, it is tracked for the duration of the emergency response. When team members are no longer needed, they return to their functions within the agency.

Additional Information: 

On the Watch for Wildlife Disease (National Wildlife Disease Program printable brochure) 

National Wildlife Disease Surveillance & Emergency Response Factsheet 

APHIS Emergency Preparedness and Response Home Page 











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