Public Health - News

Posted on: June 14, 2017

Full-scale emergency exercise begins tomorrow

Golden, CO — Emergency planners, responders and volunteers throughout Colorado will be participating in a three-day, full-scale exercise June 15 through 17 designed to test community response procedures during a health crisis. 


The Public Health Emergency Dispensing Exercise, or PHED Ex, will test the state's ability to effectively implement its emergency response plans during a mock outbreak of a highly infectious disease. Jefferson County Public Health will be participating in this exercise to test the systems in place to serve the county’s population during a public health emergency. 


Exercises are a safe way for individual agencies to integrate their current plan with the state’s response system and test the effectiveness of a collective response to a health threat. This exercise will engage partners in responding to a hypothetical disease outbreak and will specifically test: 

  • Resource distribution and dispensing of medication and supplies at 24 points of dispensing. 
  • Information sharing. 
  • Coordination among multiple emergency operations centers. 


In particular, the exercise will focus on the state's ability to mobilize and distribute resources including antibiotic medications, gloves, gowns and masks to points of dispensing and hospitals around the state. As part of the exercise, the state will transport supplies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal Strategic National Stockpile. 


The exercise also will focus on assessing high-level decision-making by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in allocating limited resources to meet local needs. 


Led by the department, "players" in the exercise will include 119 hospitals and clinics and 54 local public health agencies, as well as local emergency management agencies, the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Colorado State Patrol, the Wyoming National Guard, U.S. Marshals Service and the CDC. 


"Coloradans can be assured there is no immediate threat of a spreading disease," said Dane Matthew, director of the health department’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. "We are mobilizing to prepare for public health emergency scenarios and so we can be as ready as possible. This exercise is one of many drills we have been conducting around the state to practice and test our response." 


Local agencies have customized the exercise to focus on specific strengths and gaps prioritized by the local community and the state. Response plans will be used to practice emergency processes and help identify training needs, best practices and areas for emergency preparedness improvement. 


Find more information on this Office of Emergency Preparedness web page. Follow @PHEDex2017 and @COHealth for exercise updates and information. 


Information specific to Jefferson County Public Health can be found at jeffco.us/public-health.


Nikki Work

Public Health Communications

303-239-7016

[email protected]

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