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Hospitals, First Responders Gear Up for Disaster Drill Wednesday, Thursday

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(Contra Costa Health Services via Bay City News)

By Tony Hicks
Bay City News

Contra Costa Health and several local hospitals, clinics and first-responder agencies, will conduct a countywide drill Wednesday and Thursday to test their emergency plans and ability to respond to sudden surges in patients needing emergency care.

People may see unusual activity at the county’s acute-care hospitals and other staging locations, such as large numbers of ambulances or other emergency vehicles, staff members wearing personal protective equipment, or people play-acting injuries or illness.

Any area participating in the drill and accessible to the public will be marked to let people know the activity is only a drill.

“We want the community to be aware of the exercise, so they do not mistake the first-responder activity around the county for a real emergency,” CCH deputy director Matt Kaufmann said in a statement.

Participating hospitals include Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, John Muir Health’s Concord and Walnut Creek hospitals, Sutter Delta Medical Center, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente’s hospitals in Antioch, Walnut Creek and Richmond.

Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Program and its Public Health and Emergency Medical Services divisions will participate, as will numerous community organizations, skilled nursing facilities, fire departments and other public agencies.

The Medical Response and Surge Exercise simulates a disaster, testing the emergency response capabilities of participants and is an annual requirement for federal funding related to hospital emergency preparedness. About 100 volunteers will play the role of patients exposed to a hazardous chemical.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency participated in planning for the exercise and will help oversee it.

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