If a food-borne illness should spread quickly among the local population, Marina del Rey Hospital is ready — and in a special statewide drill recently, hospital staff believe that they've proved it.
The state Department of Public Health and Emergency Medical Services Authority sponsored the Nov. 21 Statewide Medical and Health Exercise in cooperation with several medical and emergency-management associations and agencies, local health and public-safety authorities, and health-care facilities.
The exercise gave participating organizations a chance to evaluate their plans and capabilities in an emergency.
"What this meant for Marina del Rey Hospital: we activated our Incident Command System, tested our capacity in case an influx of patients came in, and communicated with the state public health department and emergency medical services authority," said Fred Hunter, the hospital's president and CEO.
"We also communicated effectively with local providers and agencies, and made sure that we were able to request and receive needed resources that might be scarce if an event like this were to happen," Mr. Hunter said. "Our team also tested its ability to receive reliable information and relay it to the public and our partners."
"We wanted to be involved because we are constantly looking for ways to improve our capabilities and our service. If everyone in the public-health community works together, our ability to handle an emergency grows exponentially. The result is definitely more than the sum of its parts — if we work together well, the difference in effectiveness is night and day, and we are confident that we're on the right track."
Mr. Hunter also stressed that individuals must be prepared for emergencies.
"We are very good at what we do," he said. "But we're going to be affected, as well, if something happens. People should make sure that in case of disaster — whether it's a natural disaster, an epidemic, or something else — they are self-reliant as much as possible."
"That means having food, water, first-aid supplies, medicine, and any other tools and supplies handy — and knowing how to use it all."