San Diego County agencies are scheduled to participate Monday in a simulated response to a bio-terror attack as part of a statewide emergency drill that authorities urged residents not to be apprehensive about despite recent events overseas.
The “Statewide Health & Medical Response” exercise was scheduled long before the Paris terror attacks Friday, and, according to a California Department of Public Health official, all simulations will go forward as planned, despite heightened anxiety.
In addition to the department of public health, state agencies slated to be involved include the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Emergency Services.
The five-day event will focus on identifying best practices to ensure the most rapid and efficient response to an aerosolized anthrax attack, according to state officials.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided a five-year grant to fund the exercise, which officials characterized as the largest of its kind ever conducted in the state. A smaller scale version occurred last year in the Bay Area.
San Diego County will join Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Mono counties, as well as the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Indio, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, in conducting the exercise.
Temporary medical facilities will be established, and first responders will react to mock mass casualty situations, according to state officials. Some participants will also be clad in chemical protection suits and masks to create as much realism as possible.
State officials said it is hoped participants will come away from the exercise with stronger communication links regionally and elsewhere.
— City News Service
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