Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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February 12, 2014

Exercise focuses on real world emergencies

PLAINFIELD — The Hendricks County Health Department, the Hendricks County Medical Reserve Corps and other community volunteers and partners conducted the Hendricks County 2014 Point of Dispensing (POD) Full-Scale Exercise at Plainfield Community Middle School Saturday.

This exercise was held to measure the amount of time it takes for the Health Department, Medical Reserve Corps and Plainfield Fire and Police to set up and establish a POD in the event of an actual disaster or emergency.

“We have this point of dispensing exercise just in case there’s a public emergency,” Brittney Younger, public health preparedness coordinator of the health department, said. “We set up one of these sites in the county so that we could get the county residents what they need. We practice and make sure we are prepared for events, if they ever happen.”

The scenario for the exercise this past Saturday was if an anthrax outbreak happened in Plainfield. If it happened, the health department would have to do a mass antibiotic dispensing. At the beginning of the event, Younger would call her staff to set up the POD and they walk through it to make sure everything is correct for the public. The public then walks through, being asked if they are having symptoms and if they do not, they will go through the POD. They will get their registration form, walk to the screeners to fill out paperwork, and then the nurses would say what kinds of medicines they would need in the dispensing lines.

“It’s important for people to remember that this is just an exercise, we are doing this to test our ability to set this up and do it in a timely manner,” Rachel Buckman, health educator and PIO at the health department, said. “The public doesn’t need to be alarmed. This is to help us be able to practice and meet our mission, which is to protect the Hendricks County community through public health promotion and disease prevention. This is part of that because in the event of a public health emergency we are a vital role in dealing with it and responding to it. We are mainly the response part of what happens in an emergency situation.”

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