Arizona’s public health and healthcare system teamed up with the ADHS including our Bureau of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and the Arizona Division of Emergency Management last week in one of the largest preparedness exercises of the year. The objective was to test and build preparedness capabilities across the emergency management system in AZ.

More than 3,000 public health players tested the ability to communicate and coordinate under a long term power outage scenario. It was also a great opportunity for us to open our Health Emergency Operations Center and exercise our incident command system. We tested our ability to maintain continuity of operations and support public health and our healthcare partners in a disaster scenario. The exercise helped us achieve key deliverables for our preparedness grant programs and really moved us forward along our strategic map (to Promote and Protect Public Health and Safety) with the goal of preparing for and responding to public health emergencies. 

We explored some innovative preparedness strategies as we partnered with Local EMS, FEMA, the Department of Defense and the HHS as we coordinated patient movement requests, and tested information sharing systems to help best coordinate and integrate public health support across all levels (local, county, tribal, national). In all it was a great success and learning opportunity in that it validated our preparedness plans and identified key areas we can continue to strengthen and build upon for next year. You can do your part in keeping up to date on some basic online preparedness training courses (ICS100,700).