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BERM Getting Started

Public Health Emergency Preparedness

This resource was part of AHRQ's Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, which was discontinued on June 30, 2011, in a realignment of Federal efforts.

Now this resource is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

How To Use This Model

This computer model predicts the number and type of staff needed to respond to a major disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack on a given population. The Introduction discusses the proper use and limitations of these model-derived estimates. To use the model, do the following:

1. Go to Section 1: User Inputs

2. Before entering any numbers, click the link that takes you to the basic clinic flow diagrams on which this model is based. The first diagram is suitable for mobilization against a non-communicable biological agent like anthrax for which A) you would need to dispense antibiotics and B) you would not be concerned about person-to-person spread of the disease. The second diagram is suitable for response to a communicable biological agent like smallpox for which A) you would need to vaccinate large numbers of people, B) you would need to take precautions about person-to-person spread of the disease, and C) you would need to make provisions for isolation of potentially infectious individuals

3. Return to Section 1 using the "User Inputs" button

4. Enter the required information, including the size of your covered population and the time frame you envision for your mass prophylaxis campaign

NOTE: Later in the model (Section 6, Staff Constraints) you can see whether your available staff can actually accomplish this task in the time you specify here.

5. Choose from the drop-down menus details of clinic activities like operating hours, number of shifts, and percentage "downtime" for your staff (10-20% is a good estimate). To use the drop-down menus, click over the item of interest and then click on the small arrow that appears on the right side of the box. This will bring up the options for that particular data field, which you can then click to choose.

6. Choose whether you plan to use a pre-determined patient flow rate (e.g., regulated by security or law enforcement officers at the door of the clinic) or are going to base your clinic flow rate on the number, size, and duration of briefings.

7. If you choose the communicable disease vaccination model, choose whether you would like to include Crisis/Isolation Counseling Stations and/or Testing Stations (e.g., pregnancy, HIV testing, etc).

8. Choose from one of the pre-set processing time selections: Slow, Baseline, or Fast. (For the actual time estimates, see Section 7: Summary of Scenarios)

9. Now, choose which type of agent you are modeling: non-communicable like anthrax or communicable (in which case you may need a separate contact precaution area) like smallpox.

10. Finally, choose your scenario: pre-event (in which there are no sick cases, although there may be "worried well" and people suffering from medical conditions not directly related to the attack); small post-event; or large post-event. For complete details of these scenarios, see the proportions corresponding to patient flow through the clinics described on Section 7: Summary of Scenarios.

11. Check the Summary section to make sure that your choices were properly recorded


1. Click through to the following sections to see the total and per-clinic core staff that the model requires for efficient running of your customized response plan.

2. In Section 4: Support Staff you can adjust the number and type of support staff you anticipate needing for your clinics.

3. In Section 5: Summary of Staff you can view the entire (core + support staff) estimated number of staff needed for efficient operation of your response plan.

4. To see how much of this you can accomplish with your actual number of available staff, go to Section 6: Staffing Constraints and follow the instructions.

5. To individually vary particular components of the model (e.g., if you do not want to use all of the pre-set attributes of one of the scenarios), go to Section 10: Customizable Staffing Model and change individual cells.

NOTE: The results for customized inputs in Section 10 appear at the bottom of that section only, and are not reflected in other sections of the model.

Table of Contents | 1.User Inputs | 2. Overall Model Outputs | 3.Station Specific Staffing | 4.Support Staff Calculations

 5.Summary of Model Results | 6.Staffing Constraints | 7.Summary of Scenarios | 8.Clinic Flow Diagrams

 9.Sample Physical Layout | 10.Customizable Staff Model | 11.Technical Appendix

 Top of Page | Help | Cover Page | Authors/Advisors


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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