Polk County held a bioterrorism exercise today to test how agencies could respond to an attack or disease outbreak. Planner Rick Kozin says the drill brought volunteers and emergency responders to one site to practice dispensing medication and equipment to deal with an outbreak. The stockpile was there before September 11th, but he’s not sure public-health planners would have thought about such an exercise before then. The Centers for Disease Control would provide help, the Strategic National Stockpile has the medical resources — and Cozin told reporters the media’s part of the plan, to get the word out. He says he doesn’t know any better way to get information out, because people wanting to know what’s going will turn to their radio or TV, the best way for public-health to get the word out. Dozens of volunteers stood patiently in line to go through the exercise and practice handing out information, assessing patients, and getting them the medical help they need. Cozin says the most important part of the drill may be the post-mortem discussion afterward.It’s a learning experience to test and challenge preparedness, so looking back they can say what works and how to make the process better. The exercise involved only Polk County but Cozin says every place in the state should have its own emergency and disaster response plans in place.
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