Los Angeles World Airports participated Wednesday in what was billed as the largest patient moving exercise in the history of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The exercise, which involved more than 50 organizations, focused on moving seven people acting as patients with Ebola symptoms in different regions of the nation.
A specially equipped Boeing 747-400 made several stops Wednesday on a flight from Atlanta, transporting actors who portrayed patients with the highly infectious disease.
The final stop was at Los Angeles International Airport, where two of the patients were met by local emergency responders who transferred them to ground ambulances to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, officials said.
The nationwide exercise tested the ability to move patients with highly infectious diseases safely and securely to regional treatment centers.
“At LAWA, we are serious about our commitment to safety and security for our employees and guests, and practicing scenarios such as today’s patient transport helps keep our skills sharp and find gaps that need to be addressed,” said Edward Bushman, director of emergency management for LAWA.
“This was an especially important exercise, as it provided the opportunity for our airport staff and first responders to work with multiple levels of government, as well as with medical service providers, just like we would in a real-life situation.”
Stella Fogleman, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Division, called Wednesday’s exercise “a very important part of our continuous efforts of planning, training, and exercising in collaboration with a multitude of agencies at the federal, state, and local level.”
“Having exercised this, we are better prepared Wednesday than we were Tuesday,” Fogleman said.