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South Dakota healthcare facilities participate in preparedness exercise

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 25, 2012
CONTACT:  Bill Chalcraft, (605) 773-3361 


South Dakota healthcare facilities participate in preparedness exercise


PIERRE, S.D. – A mock Hantavirus outbreak will be the subject of a May 31 statewide exercise involving hospitals, rural health clinics, long term care facilities, and Indian Health Services clinics.


“The exercise is really a practice run of how we would respond to an actual event such as a large scale outbreak or other serious health-related situation,” said Bill Chalcraft, Public Health Preparedness and Response administrator for the Department of Health. “It gives us a chance to test our response plans and all their components – resource management, interoperable communication, volunteer management, mass fatalities, hospital evacuation and surge capacity.”


The department and its healthcare partners will meet in Pierre for the exercise while the individual hospitals will manage the onsite portion of the exercise. The exercise will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Central time) at the Pierre Ramkota.


Many local, regional and state emergency managers, and federal Department of Homeland Security representatives will also participate in the exercise.


Regional and statewide drills and exercises are a major emphasis of the department’s Hospital Preparedness Program. All exercises are compliant with the federal Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program.


More information about the Hospital Preparedness Program is on the web at http://doh.sd.gov/Prepare/Hospital/.


Strengthening South Dakota’s capacity to respond to current and emerging public health threats is one goal of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.