DOH Launches IOC Preparedness Drill 

Situation Report | September 28, 2020

The state Department of Health (DOH) conducted a Statewide Interoperable Communications (IOC) drill on September 24. 

While HCA and members had anticipated the drill at some time in late September or early October, the drill came with no advance notice about the exact date it would occur.

On the day of the IOC drill, agencies should have received an Integrated Health Alerting and Notification System (IHANS) message via text/phone call/e-mail that outlined the emergency scenario. The message also directed providers to their e-mail to access, complete, and submit a survey within a certain period of time through the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS). 

“In anticipation of seasonal influenza co-circulating with COVID-19 during the 2020-2021season,” the survey asked for information about the agency’s personal protective equipment (PPE) needs (gloves, gowns and N-95 masks) for individuals infected with either seasonal influenza, COVID-19, or both.

Specifically, the survey asked if the agency is expecting to receive any of the above PPE items within the next 7 days.  

The objectives of the IOC drill were to:  

  • Demonstrate the ability to use a primary and back-up communication system to communicate with coalition partners.
  • Complete a Health Commerce System (HCS) HERDS survey within the timeframe outlined in the IHANS alert.

The drill notice was sent to certain roles in the Health Commerce System Communications Directory, so agencies should check the Directory if they did not receive the IOC drill notice. 

The drill was voluntary, but it can be used to fulfill federal and/or state requirements for agencies to conduct emergency preparedness exercises.  

If agencies want to get “credit” for the exercise, they should complete an After Action Report and save it for their records (don’t submit it to DOH). The form is available for download here.

If you have any questions, e-mail Andrew Koski or call (518) 810-0662.