Valuable Lessons Learned From Bay Area Bioterrorism Drill

MARTINEZ (KCBS) – Contra Costa was one of several Northern California counties participating in an anthrax screening exercise last week. Public health experts set up a website so residents could get information about what to do if exposed to a potentially deadly chemical or infectious disease.

Several thousand people participated, but emergency officials have since struggled to assess the effectiveness of conducting a regional drill such as this.

The crux of the drill – public health experts set up a website so residents could access information in the event of an emergency. During the exercise, participants were asked to use the website to find out how they could get medication from dispensing location to counter-act the symptoms.

“We did get responses from 14 counties throughout the region, we also did get some responses from counties outside of the region and other states as well,” explained Amy Pine with the San Francisco Public Health Department. “We were happy that the website stayed up and functioning, it didn’t crash. But, we’ll be working on tweeking some things in this time of non-emergency.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Pine estimated the number of hits on the website during the drill was about 5,000 – though the target region is home to an estimated 7 million people.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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