Health Agencies Conduct Training Exercise

RN & Director of Prowers Public Health, Tammie Clark, Sets the Exercise in Motion

Just as a sports team will run through their practice drills, health agencies throughout Colorado took part in a coordinated Pubic Health Emergency Dispensing Exercise to practice the distribution of medicines to the general public in a simulated emergency. The plan was set up by the CDPHE, Colorado Department of Health and Environment for action to include Otero, Baca and Crowley counties, covering southeast Colorado.

Staff Lining Up for Identification Vests

Health officials from Prowers, Bent and Kiowa Counties used the Kiowa County Fairgrounds as their setting this past Saturday, June 17th.  The main exercise ran from 9am to noon, plus additional time before and after to stage the scenario and provide a review of the various teams’ performance.  The scope of the practice involved public health agencies, hospitals, behavioral health and other local and state partners.  The exercise tested plans to distribute medicines in response to a novel, contagious respiratory illness.

Staff Deals with Simulated Emergencies

The main building at the Kiowa County fairgrounds was the site of the practice. According to Tammie Clark, Director of the Prowers County Public Health Department, volunteers from the community were asked to take part in the simulation, acting as citizens who arrived at the center in need of medications.

Quarantine Area for Mock Exercise

Once there, the medical staff guided the population through a series of stations where they would be briefed on the simulated emergency and taken to various stations for their treatment. Observers were on hand to make an on-site assessment on how well the procedures worked for the mock-patients and how well the medical teams worked with each other.

Each site conducted a post exercise debriefing for an evaluation and to determine an improvement plan if one was warranted. A ‘hot wash’ discussion followed during which time the players discussed strengths and areas for improvement.

By Russ Baldwin

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