Regional Response to a Radiological Public Health Emergency to be Exercised

Full-scale exercise to be held on Oct. 25 in Burlington, Waterbury and Pittsford
New England Radiological Health Committee annual meeting Oct. 22-26

For Immediate Release: Oct. 22, 2012
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Vermont’s plan to respond to a radiation emergency caused by a transportation incident or a radiological dispersal device (“dirty bomb”) will be exercised on Thursday, Oct. 25 during a full-scale exercise.
 
Details of the exercise are known only to a few state, regional and federal planners. All other responders to the exercise scenario will be operating as if it was a real event. An estimated 200 local, state, New England and federal responders are expected to participate as players, evaluators or observers.
 
The full day exercise (9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) will take place at three locations: the Vermont Fire Academy in Pittsford (the incident scene), the State Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury, and the Health Department’s Operations Center in Burlington.
 
“We must be ready for anything – from a natural disaster, to an infectious disease outbreak, to a biological, chemical or radiological release,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “We must put our plans, training and inter-operational systems to the test, and the best test is a realistic, real-time full-scale exercise.”
 
The full scale exercise – along with a tabletop discussion-based exercise (Oct. 23), workshops and presentations (Oct. 24) and tour of the Health Department’s laboratory (Oct. 26) – is being sponsored as part of the 43rd annual meeting of the New England Radiological Health Committee on Oct. 22-26 at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington.
 
Helicopter to Land at Waterfront Park Wednesday, Oct. 24

Also at 10 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 24, a twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, will land at Waterfront Park along Lake Champlain across from the Hilton. The helicopter will be used as part of training demonstrations that are vital for coordinated emergency response, and will be available for public tours through 2 p.m. This aircraft, which sends data back for mapping purposes, is part of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Aerial Measuring System.

Vermont organizations participating in the exercise:

State health departments that make up the New England Radiological Health Compact: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island. Connecticut is also sending its Mobile Radiological Laboratory.

Participating federal agencies:

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