San Mateo County agencies will come together Thursday to test the mass distribution of medicine in a drill to assess the county health system's readiness to provide timely assistance in the event of a major health emergency.
According to San Mateo County Health System spokeswoman Robyn Thaw, more than 20 agencies will join forces in operation Silver Dragon VII Emergency Drill.
The operation will test the abilities of the county health system, local cities, law enforcement, the American Red Cross and the Community Emergency Response Teams to mass-distribute medicine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Strategic National Stockpile.
Using door-to-door distributions, CERT teams will distribute information in eco-friendly, reusable shopping bags, simulating a mass-distribution of medicine in a health emergency, such as a pandemic influenza, a bio-agent or a food or water-borne illness, according to Thaw.
Last year, participant teams in Silver Dragon VI visited 15,000 homes countywide. This year it hopes to improve on that number.
In addition, this year's drill will test the county's mobile kitchen, with San Mateo Medical Center's food service staff preparing food for the volunteers.
Also being tested this year is the time it takes for the county health system to receive the CDC's stockpile of medicine and medical supplies, according to Thaw.
Participating agencies include the American Red Cross, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, Coastside CERT, Millbrae fire, North County fire, Pacifica police, San Mateo County Health System and San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, among others.
The drill will run from 9 a.m. to noon.