State health department announces emergency medical supply drill

The state Department of Public Health will lead a full-scale exercise to test the state's ability to obtain emergency medical supplies from the federal Strategic National Stockpile, the department announced today. The exercise will take place this week.

Managed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stockpile program has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to use in the event of a large-scale health emergency or disaster, such as a disease outbreak like pandemic flu or a terrorist attack severe enough to cause local supplies to run out, the department said in a news release. The program provides an initial delivery of supplies to the state within 12 hours of a request. Supplies are stored in strategic locations around the country to ensure rapid delivery to any location.

In Connecticut, the public health department receives the delivery and then arranges for supplies to be transported to the affected areas. As part of the exercise, the department will open a warehouse in Bloomfield to receive and deliver simulated supplies, the news release said. These supplies will be delivered by truck via a police escort to the warehouse for receipt, storage and staging of the supplies. The supplies then will be delivered to 75 locations across the state, including schools, local health departments and public works facilities.

In a real emergency, medications and other supplies would be delivered from these locations to dispensing areas where people would go to receive required medication. This exercise will not include staging public clinics, the news release said. Local health departments have conducted previous exercises to test the process of getting medications to people through mass vaccination clinics.

Agencies and organizations that will be participating in the exercise include the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; the Connecticut Military Department; State Police; Department of Corrections; local health departments and acute care hospitals.


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