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May 2, 2014

Preparing for the worst: Local agencies, volunteers execute public health emergency drill

Local agencies, volunteers execute public health emergency drill

(Continued)

Susie Bennett, a nurse with the health department, said she has participated in drills with the department in the past but that Thursday’s was one of the most in-depth. She said the drills are important to keep health department staff and other volunteers sharp during a worst-case scenario.

“The more you do them and practice them, the more prepared you can be,” she said.

In order to qualify for future grant dollars that would help fund public health emergency response efforts, the health department had to ensure 75 people made it through the process in an hour. About 30 Logansport High School students volunteered, meaning some went through more than once, choosing different scenario cards to dictate how they filled out their registration forms each time. The quota was reached with about 20 minutes to spare.

David Vides, a senior at Logansport High School, was one of the volunteers who went through the cycle.

“They said I wasn’t going to die,” he said thankfully with a laugh, adding that volunteers gave him instructions on his medication.

Vides went on to say the drill put him at ease knowing that local officials are prepared should a public health emergency occur.

“I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, we’re ready for it,” he said.

Jose Rivera, also a senior at the high school, played a father whose children had been exposed to the agent in the attack. He said volunteers instructed him on which medications to give to which kids. He called the exercise “a really good idea.”

“Not everyone knows how to take care of a situation like this and they help a lot of people know how to take action if this ever happened to this town,” he said.

Cierra Morrison, a junior, played a mom picking up medication for herself and her three children. She said the drill was “really beneficial.”

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