Emergency personnel from across the Durham area will conduct
a multi-agency disaster exercise Tuesday, May 17, as part of emergency response
training held at least twice a year.
"This exercise is designed to test the capabilities of
emergency responders and hospitals in our area to a hazardous materials release or bioterrorism event," said David Marsee, emergency management coordinator for the Durham
County Emergency Management Department. "After the training, we can look back
to see what steps we can improve, including changes to training, equipment or
policy and procedures."
The exercise, based on a hazardous material emergency planning
grant, will simulate a chemical exposure and will begin about 9 a.m. on Duke
University's West Campus in the area near the athletic facilities. During the
exercise, access to the Duke's blue zone parking lot will be restricted and individuals
may experience some congestion on Duke University Road.
Emergency vehicles and personnel will be on-site during the
exercise, which will include actors simulating the reactions to a chemical
exposure. The mock patients will be transported to Duke University Hospital and
Durham Regional Hospital as part of the exercise, which is scheduled to end at
Both hospitals will activate their emergency plans, which
include overhead paging and announcements during the exercise. Patients in both
hospitals will receive advance notification about the exercise and signs will
be posted throughout both facilities to help inform visitors about the training
"We hope such a situation never occurs, but because of the
coordination necessary between Duke and Durham medical and emergency
responders, it's important that we train for such possibilities," said Ian
Greenwald, chief medical officer for Duke University Health System's Preparedness
and Response Center.
For more information about the exercise, contact Dawn D.
Dudley, public information specialist for Durham at 919-560-0008, or Jessica
Thompson, director of Duke's Emergency Preparedness and Trauma Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-970-8767 (pager).