Our preparedness team organized and executed a Functional Exercise on Tuesday last week to test Arizona’s hospital system for Interoperable Communications, Tracking of Bed Availability, Deploying Volunteer Health Professionals, Fatality Management, and Medical Evacuation/Shelter-In-Place capabilities.  The exercise focused on hospital, local health, and state health Emergency Operations Center coordination.   

The exercise scenario was called Sink or Swim, and tested the system’s response to simulated flooding from a severe tropical storm that moved up the Gulf of California to Arizona.  Hospitals and clinic systems tested their emergency plans for communications outages, patient movement within facilities, and medical surge.  Seventy two hospitals, 11 county health departments, 6 community health centers, Indian Health Services, and the ADHS participated in the exercise.  In addition, the ADEM participated by activating the volunteer network. These exercises require a great deal of up-front work.  Congratulations to our federally funded preparedness team for putting together the successful drill.