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Press Release

DHHS and Seacoast Health Organizations Announce Exercises to Plan for Large Scale Chemical Exposure
Event on October 7 Will Focus on Safe Administration of Medication and Evacuation of Exposed Citizens
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Emergency Services Unit
Publish Date:
October 2, 2015

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Emergency Services Unit, first responders, towns and healthcare facilities in the Seacoast Public Health Region will conduct an emergency exercise on Wednesday, October 7, to prepare for a mass exposure to gas, toxin or infectious disease.

The exercise will focus on several capabilities: the ability of emergency medical services (EMS) to identify, triage, and decontaminate patients safely; the ability of hospitals to receive patients, decontaminate them and the ability to activate and receive chemical medical countermeasures as needed; and the ability of DHHS to expedite the movement of chemical medical countermeasures where they are needed to save lives. The emergency exercise will be held on October 7 at Hampton Beach with most activity happening along Brown Avenue between the Hampton Fire Station, Hampton Police Station and the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom parking lot.

"It is important that all medical personnel are familiar with the process to activate and get access to medical countermeasures that prevent casualties in the event of a chemical exposure," said Marcella Bobinsky, Acting Director of Public Health at DHHS. "This training will help EMS and hospital personnel respond to a possible exposure to chemicals with working knowledge that could not only save the lives of their patients but themselves as well."

The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) has chemical medical countermeasures that are limited in our State; they are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are located at undisclosed sites throughout the State. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that the necessary medical personnel know how to activate these assets so that lives will be saved in such an event.

"This exercise is great practice that will help DHHS, Hampton officials and surrounding communities respond to mass exposure to toxins or gas at large events such as the Hampton Seafood Festival should there be a large-scale response. All in all, such exercises significantly improve the States readiness," said Vickie Carrier, Strategic National Stockpile Coordinator for DHHS. "Conducting it in the community setting is an important strategy to address the potential for patient surge on healthcare services during a mass casualty event. While an incident like this cannot be anticipated, planning and exercising are key pieces to increasing the regions and state ability to respond to such an event."

Participating partners include EMS and Fire personnel from Hampton, Exeter Hospital, Portsmouth Hospital, Wentworth Douglas Hospital, Frisbie Hospital, nursing students from Great Bay Community College, and the Greater Seacoast Public Health Region. The exercise is sponsored by New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services through funding by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 
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