Are we prepared for a health crisis?
Friday, May 23, 2014 11:00 AM
A group of Madison Consolidated High School students patiently stood in line Thursday inside the auxiliary gym awaiting their antibiotics.
Freshman Savannah Clark is given a bottle of medicine during a drill at Madison Consolidated High School on Thursday. The drill tested the response time for Jefferson County emergency crews should a medical emergency occur. (Staff photos by Steve Dickersonfirstname.lastname@example.org)
They quietly strolled through the line giving their family's information to nurses and health professionals, eventually exiting the gym with a small medicine bottle.
The bottles, though, were empty and there were no real health concerns to combat.
The program was part of a training exercise by the Jefferson County Health Department to prepare for a point of distribution site in the event of a real local health crisis. Local and district emergency workers also assisted in the exercise.
"It's basically just a test run," said Tammy Monroe, the county's health administrator.
Thursday's mock-scenario was an anthrax scare. Emergency crews posted facts about anthrax, a disease caused by bacteria Bacillus anthracis, on the gym wall and then went through a three-step system before giving the students the empty pill bottle intended to be antibiotics.
The goal was to see how long it would take to serve 75 visitors - who could have received enough medication for a family of five. The drill lasted only 13 minutes.
In the event of a real scenario, the county would need to distribute antibiotics to every county resident within three days, Monroe said. In addition, EMS would be at all points of distribution and anyone showing symptoms would be asked not to enter the building but rather immediately visit a doctor.
The exercise was the first time Jefferson County has held a medication distribution drill. The workers will file a report with the state.