First-Ever Medical Exchange Brings Together Local, State and Federal Agencies for Disaster Response Planning
A team from UCSF Medical Center participated in Fleet Week’s Medical Exchange, a first-of-its-kind emergency management event that demonstrated the capabilities of local military during a disaster. From left to right: Donna Cova, RN, of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital; Peter Balestreri, director of security services; Chau Vu, emergency preparedness manager; and Douglas Dresnek, an Environmental Health and Safety specialist.
UCSF Medical Center recently participated in a first-of-its-kind emergency management event as part of Fleet Week activities to better plan with other local agencies for a disaster.
The Medical Exchange (MEDEX) offered demonstrations of medical capabilities by local military branches and a forum to discuss areas of partnerships in the event of a major emergency. The Oct. 4 exchange included San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management and Department of Public Health and the emergency management staffs of all city hospitals.
“It is important that we understand all levels of disaster response and find areas of partnership to improve existing systems through drills, trainings, and exercises,” said Chau Vu, emergency preparedness manager for the UCSF Medical Center.
The purpose of the MEDEX is to bring together local, state, federal and private partners centered around the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS).
The day included a demonstration of the Shock Trauma Platoon, a small, mobile medical unit of the Marine Corps; the Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion on Ocean Beach to simulate delivery of emergency supplies to the Marines, transfer of participants via Chinook helicopters to the Moffitt Air Station, and a tour of the medical evacuation staging area at the California National Guard Mobile Aeromedical Evacuation Staging Facilities to demonstrate how patients are received. The U.S. Health and Human Services Agency and the San Francisco Department of Public Health also gave presentations.
“Seeing first-hand the awesome capabilities our military and other government partners was priceless. The exercise and demonstration of these resources provided a unique opportunity for local hospital emergency managers,” said Peter Balestreri, director of security services at UCSF Medical Center. “We will now be able to take our observations and lessons learned and apply them to our own internal trainings, drills and procedures.”