This week the state will conduct a full-scale exercise to practice and test its ability to respond to a health emergency such as an influenza pandemic, major weather event or a terrorist attack.
The exercise will focus on the state's ability to receive and distribute the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), a large supply of medicine and medical supplies used to protect the public during a health emergency. The Louisiana Department of Health will set up Point of Dispensing Sites, distribution points used to dispense medicine to the public.
"It is critical that we are able to quickly distribute life-saving medicine during a health emergency, every second counts," said LDH Office of Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane. "This is a valuable opportunity to ensure that our plans work by conducting a full-scale exercise with our federal, state and local partners."
During a real emergency, once Federal and local authorities agree that the SNS is needed, medicines will be delivered to any state in the U.S. within 12 hours. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.
The exercise runs February 28 - March 1, 2012 in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Houma-Thibodaux, Covington and Alexandria metropolitan areas. Numerous federal, state and local government and industry are participating including the CDC, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), LDH, Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana State Police, parish governments, hospitals and industry.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog, Twitter account and Facebook.