California begins deploying specialized CBRN trailers

Public health officials in San Bernadino County, Calif., have started to deploy the first of 43 specialized trailers that can combat bioterrorism, disasters or the next pandemic.

The trailers will act as a geographically diverse response network of trained responders and equipment that can deliver antibiotics or other appropriate protective measures to the over two million residents of the county. This could help the county more effectively cope with twin disasters, like an earthquake and bio-terrorism or a pandemic, Mercury News reports.

The trailers were paid for primarily with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county currently has 30 mobile pod trailers, an order in for 13 more and the equipment to fill them.

"It has been an ongoing process to purchase the trailers for about five years,” Matt Baca, the coordinator for the preparedness and response program of the county’s Department of Public Health, said, according to Mercury News. “Now we are placing them."

Big Bear Lake, Calif., was the first city to receive one of the $17,000 trailers filled with around $50,000 worth of equipment. Future California cities to receive the trailers early in the process will be Hesperia, Yermo and Apple Valley.

The trailers were developed in response to an anthrax bioterrorism scenario in which public health officials would have to distribute antibiotics to a large population quickly. The goal would be to distribute antibiotics to 50,000 and/or immunizations to over 30,000 people in 48 hours.

The equipment in the trucks includes a generator, blood pressure cuffs, face masks, wheelchairs, a defibrillator and a 22 gallon gas tank.