Houston County Health Departments Hosts SNS Exercise
On April 6, the Houston County Health Department hosted an exercise to test their ability to open a mass dispensing site. A mass dispensing site would be needed in the event of a public health emergency where every person in a community needed to receive life-saving medication.
The drill simulated the need to organize enough volunteers to set up the inside of a dispensing site and the exercise stopped at the point that the doors would have been ready to open to the public. Future drills will be held where volunteers play the role as community victims who need to receive medication.
Chris Sikes, Nurse Manager of the Houston County Health Department said, “We are very appreciative of the fact that so many organizations within Houston County have provided their expert input and assistance to make this plan tailored to meet the specific needs of our county. It is our sincere hope that we will never have to implement these plans in a real-life situation, but it is comforting to know that there is this safety net in place should the need arise."
The exercise was evaluated by the North Central Health District’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. Karen Ebey-Tessendorf, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, said, “I was so impressed with the preparation that Houston County Health Department had done in advance for the exercise. They were so organized and every public health employee was ready to do their job! They took responsibility for county SNS planning and coordinated well with partners. Houston County is much better prepared now for an event that would require mass dispensing of medications."
During the exercise, the health department worked with the Houston County Emergency Management Agency and other volunteers to open the dispensing site.