Idaho health agencies and EMS join Boise hospitals in national exercise to transport patients with highly infectious disease


Photo courtesy of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare / Chris Smith
A role-playing “patient” is prepared for boarding a Kalitta Air 747 medical transport aircraft through the nose cone as part of a full-scale emergency preparedness exercise to rehearse capabilities for moving patients with highly infectious diseases, such as Ebola. Four “patients” were transported Wednesday morning from Saint Alphonsus Health System and St. Luke’s Health System by Ada County Paramedics and St. Luke’s Air to the Boise Airport.


BOISE – State, local and national emergency personnel rehearsed moving patients with highly infectious disease in Boise today as part of the largest national preparedness exercise of its kind in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services history.

The three-day exercise culminated Wednesday at the Boise Airport/Gowen Field, where four role-playing patients were loaded onto a Kalitta Air 747 medical transport aircraft and flown to regional treatment centers in Spokane, Wash., and Los Angeles, Calif. Idaho does not have the capability to treat patients with highly infectious diseases such as Ebola.

The drill started early Monday morning when people acting as patients with Ebola symptoms arrived at Treasure Valley healthcare facilities. The patients were cared for at the clinics and hospitals, then transported by ambulance to other facilities, before eventually being moved to the Boise Airport and transferred into the medical transport aircraft.

Participants behaved throughout the exercise as if the incident was real, taking necessary actions and employing appropriate resources to manage and protect the patients, the workforce and the environment, as well as safely transport the patients. Continue reading