DHMH Tests Public Health Emergency Plans in Statewide Exercise

BALTIMORE, MD (September 26, 2013) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH) Office of Preparedness and Response this week held a large-scale statewide Strategic National Stockpile Distribution Exercise to evaluate preparedness for potential public health emergencies. DHMH sponsors and participates in a variety of drills and exercises throughout the year in order to test various emergency response measures.

The purpose of this exercise, conducted September 23 through 25, was to test the process for requesting, delivering and receiving medical supplies in the event of a public health emergency. These supplies are part of the Strategic National Stockpile, a national repository of medication, medical equipment and items that can be used to supplement local stockpiles in the event of emergencies such as disease outbreaks or bioterrorism events.

The exercise brought together nearly 100 participating groups, including local health departments, hospitals, law enforcement, state agencies and facilities, and federal agencies.

"This exercise was conducted with our partners throughout the state to enhance our response efforts to protect public health during emergency situations," says Dr. Laura Herrera, Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services, who played the role of the DHMH Secretary during the exercise.

Participants included the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, the Maryland National Guard, Department of General Services Maryland Capitol Police, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and MTA Police, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, Maryland State Police, Department of Natural Resources Police, the State Highway Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Centers for Disease Control.

For more information about the DHMH Office of Preparedness and Response, visit http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarylandOPR.

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