Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health and Homeland Security divisions participated in a three-day regional emergency preparedness exercise from Monday, June 17 through Wednesday, June 19 that simulated an anthrax release in Macomb County during public events that attracted thousands of attendees from around southeast Michigan. Its purpose was to model the decisions that would have to be made with regional partners in order to communicate consistent public health information to residents and implement a plan to dispense antibiotics.
Health Division practiced opening 18 of its medication dispensing sites for delivering antibiotics to its community partners, including for some of the most vulnerable populations such as long-term care facilities and mental health providers. This is the first time a response to a public health threat has been tested with private partners on this scale in Michigan. In addition, the county also simulated receiving medications from the Strategic National Stockpile utilizing the Civil Air Patrol plane at the Oakland County International Airport – another first in Michigan. Oakland County’s Emergency Operations Center was operational for the duration of the exercise.
"We practice emergency preparedness on a regular basis so that if we're ever faced with a real-life scenario, we will know how to respond effectively and responsibly," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "Oakland County has participated in many exercises that range from a mass-casualty incident on Oakland U's campus, to severe weather during the Dream Cruise, to this week's anthrax release."
Oakland County Health Division Manager Kathy Forzley said this week's emergency preparedness exercise was a good learning tool for improving our connections with our regional partners. "These exercises help identify any areas where we may need to strengthen our response," she said.
Taking part in the exercise with Oakland County was the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, Civil Air Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Oakland County Medical Control Authority, Oakland Community College, Lapeer County, Livingston County, Macomb County, Monroe County, St. Clair County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, the City of Detroit, and over a dozen private businesses and organizations.
For more information about Oakland County Health Division, go to oakgov.com/health. To learn more about emergency preparedness at work and home, visit the Homeland Security Division at oakgov.com/homelandsecurity.
Cutline for photos: Oakland County Health Division medication dispensing site at Oakland Community College Highland Lakes Campus at 7350 Cooley Lake Road in Waterford.
For media inquiries only, please contact Bill Mullan, media and communications officer, at 248-858-1048.