By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Clay M. Whaley Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs Office
SAN DIEGO - Sixty-four representatives from Navy Region Southwest commands, Third Fleet, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, along with Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton and Diego County participated in the Joint Commander Naval Installations Command and Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's Pandemic Influenza Point of Distribution Tabletop Exercise Oct. 12.
The tabletop exercise provided NMCSD, its branch clinics and above mentioned commands an opportunity to train and prepare for a possible influenza pandemic, which would result in massive immunizations for the active duty military and beneficiary population.
"The goal of the exercise is to get each installation in the area together and think about what they would be faced with in case of an influenza pandemic, as well as talk and develop a plan in case that situation were to occur," said Cmdr. Gene Garland, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Environmental Health Officer.
The exercise consisted of an influenza scenario, which involved dividing participants into multiple groups to discuss what actions would be taken within their scope of responsibility to ensure the distribution was executed with a goal of 100% inoculation.
"We [tabletop exercise participants] don't work together on a daily basis since we're typically working within our own spaces, it's good to be able to get together and discuss how we would respond in case of an influenza pandemic," said Mark Frederickson, Director of Emergency Management for Navy Region Southwest.
Participants will provide input and feedback on the tabletop exercise through an after action report due 30 days after the exercise.
"I am absolutely confident in the abilities of military and civilian personnel working together to help the community in case of an influenza pandemic, we proved it with H1N1," said Jack Walsh, County of San Diego Strategic National Stockpile Coordinator.
For more information on NMCSD's vaccination hours and clinics please call our flu hotline at (619) 532-5FLU or visit our website at http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/fluvaccines.aspx