Colorado tests BioWatch program in full-scale exercise

Mark Salley, Communications Director | 303-692-2013 |
DENVER – Emergency planners in the Denver metro area will be participating in a two-day, full-scale BioWatch exercise Oct. 4 and 5 designed to test a response to a biological agent release.
The BioWatch program, led by the Department of Homeland Security, is designed to detect the presence of biological agents that have been intentionally released into the air. This early warning system could ensure potential victims receive life-saving treatment as quickly as possible.
This exercise will use established air quality monitoring sites to simulate a biological agent release event. Exercises are a safe way for emergency planners to test the effectiveness of plans and collaborate. Responders from Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Douglas and Jefferson counties, as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, will be participating.
BioWatch monitors the air for biological agents likely to be used in a bioterrorism attack. If a detection occurs, public health and other local, state and federal officials use the information to coordinate an emergency response, including prompt medical care and other actions to protect public health and safety. This combination of early warning and rapid response may potentially reduce the impact of a bioterrorism attack.
"Coloradans can be assured there is no immediate threat of a biological agent release,” said Dane Matthew, director of the state health department’s Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response. "We are mobilizing to prepare for an emergency scenario so we can be as ready as possible. This exercise is one of many drills we have been conducting around the state to practice and test our response."
Find more information on the BioWatch program visit the official Homeland Security page. Follow @COhealth for exercise updates and information.