County health staff partners with local agencies to test response protocol

SAN MATEO, Calif. — In the event of a major health emergency, such as Pandemic Influenza, a food or water-borne illness or the intentional release of a bio-agent, large quantities of medicine and medical supplies will need to be delivered to homes of San Mateo County residents. On April 17, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, San Mateo County Health System staff will join local response teams in a large-scale preparedness exercise to practice protocols for a major public health emergency.

The exercise, known as the Silver Dragon VIII Emergency Exercise, will test the Health System’s ability to partner with local cities, law enforcement, fire departments, American Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) for mass-dispensing of medicine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

To test door-to-door distribution as realistically as possible, CERT teams will distribute educational information and resources in reusable shopping bags to 14,000 homes, simulating how medicine would be delivered following a mass public health-related emergency. Results from the exercise will be shared with other health agencies.

As part of the exercise, San Mateo Medical Center food service staff will also test its mobile kitchen capabilities which would be used to feed and hydrate volunteers and first responders during a major emergency. Providing the appropriate food and beverages for these individuals can be a critical part of the response effort.

Members of the press are invited to observe the exercise. To learn more, contact Robyn Thaw at (650) 573-3935.

Participating Agencies:

San Francisco Bay Area American Red Cross, Belmont, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, Coastside CERT, East Palo Alto, City of Foster City, Menlo College, Menlo Fire District, Millbrae Fire Department, North County Fire Authority, Pacifica Police Department, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, San Mateo Fire Department, San Mateo Medical Center, South San Francisco Fire Department and