Local Teams to Test Response to Public Health Emergency Thursday

Teams from the Fire Protection District and County Health System will go door-to-door in Menlo Park and Atherton Thursday passing out brochures to simulate distribution of medicine and supplies in the event of an emergency.

On Thursday, as part of the County Health System's "Silver Dragon V1" emergency drill, the Menlo Park Fire Protection District's (MPFPD) Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and representatives from  will go door-to-door at various locations throughout the Fire District delivering emergency preparedness information, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The exercise is meant to test the San Mateo County Health System's ability to partner with local cities, law enforcement, fire departments, the San Mateo-Coastside Medical Reserve Corps. (SMC MRC) teams and CERTs to distribute large quantities of medicine and medical supplies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

CERT and SMC MRC will practice their readiness to provide emergency assistance - specifically in the event of a major health emergency such as a pandemic influenza outbreak, a food- or water-borne illness, or the intentional release of a bioagent.

In order to test such door-to-door distribution as realistically as possible, CERT and MRC teams will distribute earthquake preparedness brochures to simulate the supplies that could be delivered during a health-related emergency affecting large segments of the local population.

Eleven teams of three to four CERT members will be canvassing neighborhoods in the Lindenwood area of Atherton and the Menlo College area of Menlo Park between 9 a.m. and noon Thursday. 

"This exercise tests an innovative approach to successfully accomplishing the distribution of life-saving medical supplies to the pulic in a timely manner," said Menlo Park Fire Protection Chief Harold Schapelhouman in a statement earlier this week.

Following Thursday's exercise, the County Health System will share the results of the event with other health agencies to expand the options available in the event of a public health emergency.

This is the sixth year the practice exercise has been conducted. Last year, teams tested how long it would take to visit 10,000 homes across the county.

"This tear, the teams will try to improve upon last year's time," Schapelhouman said in the statement.



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