August 1, 2014
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -
The New York City Department of Health will be conducting a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday.
They are testing the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, or other large-scale public health emergency in the city. The majority of the deliveries will take place to public school buildings.
It's the largest surprise drill in the city's history. The drill was scheduled to take place from approximately 6:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The majority of participants were given no notice to better test and simulate a real emergency and response.
“The NYC Health Department is responsible for developing and executing plans for the mass dispensing of life-saving medicine in response to public health emergencies,” said Dr. Oxiris Barbot, First Deputy Commissioner of the Health Department. “This exercise demonstrates our commitment to ensuring we have the capability and resources to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers in times of crisis.”
The city warned that supply trucks would be escorted by NYPD and other law enforcement vehicles across the city.
The exercise involves deploying more than 1,500 staff members from more than a dozen city agencies and setting up 30 temporary locations that would be used in the event of an emergency to dispense life-saving medication.
The goal is to see how quickly they can get the drugs distributed in case of an attack. The Health Dept. says that no actual medications would be distributed as part of the drill, and there should be no impact to other planned activities in the affected facilities.
“It is our responsibility to make sure New York City is prepared for the variety of hazards we may face, from a coastal storm to a public health incident,” said NYC Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito.
Called RAMPEx, which stands for Rapid Activation for Mass Prophylaxis Exercise, the drill's estimated cost was $1.4 million. The city says it will not share the results of the test due to security concerns. The Health Department says it will use the results to make policy and operational changes to its emergency response plan.