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Archive of Training, Drills, & Exercises: 2005

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June 2005: PODEX
From June 1-2, 2005 — staged at locations throughout the city — the PODEX two-day field exercise was designed to test the City's distribution of Strategic National Stockpile assets in the event of a bioterrorist attack.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness and hosted by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), PODEX tested the City's point of dispensing (POD) plan in two phases. (Points of dispensing or "PODs" are special clinics designed to rapidly distribute antibiotics or vaccines in an emergency setting.)

The two-day drill began as the City's health monitoring equipment tested positive for anthrax. On the first day of the exercise, City officials requested and received medical and non-medical supplies from the federal government for PODs around the city, and trained supervisory POD staff from DOHMH. On day two, exercise players were challenged to set up mock PODs to distribute medications to affected residents and handle related security, public information, and transportation issues.

The scenario: At the end of a concert in a New York City park, the crowd is showered with confetti. The following day, sensors removed from the event location test positive for anthrax. By the next evening, DOHMH has started receiving reports from several hospitals about a number of patients showing signs and symptoms consistent with anthrax.

The exercise: Drawing participants from more than 15 City agencies and organizations, as well as several state and federal agencies, PODEX focused primarily on emergency response coordination, critical decision-making, and integration of federal, state, and regional assets. Exercise players were challenged to manage multiple POD locations, handle unsolicited volunteers, process several hundred patients, and provide accurate information to the public. Participating agencies also assigned representatives to the City's Emergency Operations Center to ensure a coordinated response to the incident.

Exercise evaluators reviewed PODEX activities for command structure efficiency, interagency communications, participants' awareness and understanding of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive hazards, and use of resources. PODEX evaluators also examined how well agency response met Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS) standards. A list of participants:
  • American Red Cross in Greater New York
  • City University of New York
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Fire Department of New York City
  • FDNY — Emergency Medical Services
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • New Jersey State Police
  • NYC Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  • New York Cares
  • New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services
  • New York City Department of Education
  • New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications
  • New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
  • New York City Department of Transportation
  • New York City Health and Hospital Corporation
  • New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner
  • New York City Office of Emergency Management
  • New York City Office of the Mayor
  • New York City Police Department
  • New York State Department of Health
  • New York State Emergency Management Office
  • New York State Office of Homeland Security
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Regional Emergency Medical Services Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Marshals Service
View the press release

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