The first full scale regional exercise on how to respond to a epidemic outbreak is underway in American SAmoa .
It's also being attended by first responders from Guam, the Northern Marianas, Palau and the Marshall islands.
The trainers for the exercise, codenamed Mataala or alert, are from the Centers for Disease Control and US Army Personnel from Fort Shafter in Hawaii.
Homeland Security official Jim Schoonover is leading the training which involves both table top exercises and a simulation of a disaster scenario.
He explains why it is necessary;
"Maybe someone doesn't know their plans very well so they need to practise that or just the procedures they are going to use. They haven't practised it well enough or the security may be bad or something like that. Generally that is what happens."