Public Agencies Continue 5-Day Bio-Terrorism Attack Drill

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Public agencies from throughout the state will participate Tuesday in a five-day emergency drill simulating the response to a bio-terror attack, the largest exercise of its kind ever conducted in California.

The “Statewide Health & Medical Response” exercise was scheduled prior to the Paris terror attacks, and, according to a California Department of Public Health official, all simulations will go forward as planned.

In addition to the CDPH, state agencies planning to participate include the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Emergency Services.

The five-day event, which began Monday, focuses on identifying best practices to ensure the most rapid and efficient response to an anthrax attack, according to state officials. The exercise is being funded by a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Officials said this week’s drill would be the largest of its kind ever conducted in the state.

Entities in Los Angeles County participating in the drill include the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Pasadena.

Outside L.A. County, entities slated to participate include:

— Riverside County;
— Orange County;
— San Diego County;
— Imperial County;
— Mono County;
— San Bernardino County;
— city of San Luis Obispo;
— city of Santa Barbara; and
— Ventura County

According to state officials, most operations were held indoors Monday, including communication exercises such as emails, phone calls and staff meetings. As the week progresses, the drill will expand, requiring participants to deploy to various areas.

Temporary medical facilities will be established, and first responders will react to mock mass casualty situations, according to state officials.

Some participants will be clad in chemical protection suits and masks to create as much realism as possible, officials said, emphasizing that members of the public should not panic.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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