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University of Washington Health Sciences Tabletop Exercise

Carl Osaki, NWCPHP faculty and exercise facilitator, began a practice emergency preparedness and response tabletop on May 18, 2011. The exercise focused on a simulated 7.1 earthquake event.
University of Washington Health Sciences Tabletop Exercise

FEMA News Photo

June 7, 2011

"Close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting in your office and the ground begins to shake." That is how Carl Osaki, NWCPHP faculty and exercise facilitator, began a practice emergency preparedness and response tabletop on May 18, 2011. The exercise focused on a simulated 7.1 earthquake event.

Faculty, staff, and students from the six health sciences schools at the University of Washington (UW) gathered with NWCPHP faculty and staff who provided technical expertise. The exercise was sponsored by NWCPHP, the UW Health Sciences Administration, and the UW School of Public Health.

The health sciences schools participating in the exercise share space in a sprawling complex known as the Magnuson Health Sciences Center. This building houses multiple offices, laboratories, and classrooms. Participants in the exercise not only discussed how to ensure the safety of people in an earthquake disaster, but also how to maintain and protect on-going research projects.

Sixty-six people participated in the event. Participants were divided into the roles of players, observers, and resources. Resources included representatives from the Washington State Department of Health, Public Health - Seattle & King County, and UW law enforcement. Patrick O’Carroll, Regional Health Administrator, Public Health Service Region X, attended the event and provided valuable expertise.

The exercise provided the opportunity for participants to discuss continuity of operations, identify gaps in their preparedness plans, and to network with preparedness experts. The organizers of the exercise also made templates and checklists available to participants to help units strengthen their preparedness.

When asked about how the exercise benefited participants, Mark Oberle, the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice for the UW School of Public Health said, “The exercise offered a valuable opportunity to share best practices, improve coordination, and focus each unit on areas of immediate improvement.”

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