Ventura County Emergency Workers Hold Bioterrorism Response Drill
In a test designed to assess Ventura County's ability to respond to a bioterrorist attack, more than 200 county police officers, firefighters and hospital workers trained in working with hazardous materials participated in a mock sarin gas attack yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reports. As part of the drill, emergency teams responded to the "attack" at a vacant Oxnard building declared to be an office for the purposes of the test. The results of the drill indicated that officials need to find faster ways to decontaminate people as it took about three hours to "hose down and scrub 30 'victims.'" It also identified the need to get more ambulances to the scene of a "major disaster" as the county had problems transporting a large number of victims to area hospitals, Ventura County Fire Captain Mark Taillon said. While the county fire department has staged similar drills since 1993, yesterday's exercise marked the first time that hospitals have participated. Police, fire and hospital officials will meet soon to critique the drill and discuss how improvements can be made. Sandi Wells, a spokesperson for the fire department, said that "overall," the county is "well-prepared to respond to bioterrorism" (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 11/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.