Operation Cerberus Full Scale Medical Countermeasures Exercise for the City of Long Beach

OPERATION CERBERUS PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Operation Cerberus was a week-long multi-agency full scale medical countermeasures exercise lead by the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (LBDHHS) that tested the department’s ability to respond to a wide-area bioterrorism incident.

The four-day exercise began the week of November 16, 2015, in seven different locations and tested the City of Long Beach’s ability to respond to a region-wide public health emergency in the form of an aerial anthrax bioterror incident throughout counties of Southern California. The exercise tested the activation of the LBDHHS Department Operations Center (DOC), the City Emergency Operations Center (EOC), two simultaneous First Responder Point of Dispensing (POD) sites, the simultaneous management of Open and Closed POD sites, and public messaging during a high-visibility high-stress public health emergency.

In order to ensure a comprehensive exercise to improve the City’s ability to respond to a public health emergency, Constant & Associates was brought in to support the efforts of LBDHHS by bringing together stakeholders from different departments, agencies, and organizations, both from within Long Beach and other external parties, as well as local communities.

C&A’s ROLE

Constant & Associates (C&A) facilitated the exercise planning process to include the development of all exercise documents consistent to the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) and provided key support onsite during the days of the exercises. C&A also developed and redesigned the City’s POD website that provides crucial information on the PODs and public health preparedness to all community members before, during, and after a public health emergency.

Another key involvement by C&A was the drafting of a Medical Countermeasures Transportation and Security Appendix to the City’s existing emergency plans. This Appendix details the chain of custody throughout the transportation of medical countermeasures, including the handoff between County and City authorities and the precautions that must be taken when transporting medical countermeasures. The Appendix also details how medical countermeasures are to be secured when at a fixed location, and the security considerations for a variety of different locations and circumstances.

C&A was able to pull together, help and identify gaps and areas for improvement and assisted with the development of enhanced guidelines for First Responder PODs, Public PODs, and the City support of Closed PODs.

View photos from the full scale exercise below:

 

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