EATON —Preble County is now more prepared for a bio-terrorism attack, thanks to a regional exercise including all the health departments and EMA.
During his monthly EMA meeting with the Preble County Commissioners on Wednesday, Nov. 29, Director David Anderson informed the three commissioners that Preble County EMA and health care facilities took part in this exercise recently.
“Now they have new rules and regulations where health care facilities have to be involved in a full-scale exercise every year. So, the health department here in Preble County asked them to participate in this,” he said. “It was where they had the distribution of the strategic national stockpile, for any kind of a large scale event that happens, like bio-terrorism, where they can get drugs that are needed to take and prevent people from getting sick,” he said.
“That was an integral part of the EMAs field, in getting it and finding a place to set up Point of Dispensing (PODs). It worked out real well, we had things pretty well under control here. There were a few things that went wrong, but that is expected in every exercise. That way you can find out what you need to do to make it better. Hopefully, everything will work out well if this actually happens.”
“A few years ago when they had the H1N1 and were doing mass vaccinations, the one thing they had trouble with out here was finding enough storage for the vaccine,” Commission President Chris Day said,
“They had that problem in Montgomery County as well. That was pointed out during the exercise and we will work on that, because we get our stuff from Montgomery County,” Anderson replied.
“So, that would still be an issue?” Day asked and Anderson answered, it would be.
Anderson also attended a mass casualty exercise with the Wayne County EMA.
“It was in conjunction with Indiana University East and their nursing program, as well as the hospital. They had 56 students with various injuries. They were all taken to Reid Hospital. It was interesting, because there were just a few people from Reid who knew this was going to go on. For the most part people did not know this was going to go on,” Anderson said.
“I was glad I got invited to that. I got to meet people from Reid Hospital. I’m trying to work with them and the Wayne County EMA to get something in place if something were to ever happen here. Like, for example, if during the Pork Festival a propane tank explodes and we have 30 people injured. We need to have things in place in order to get them to Reid and Dayton. In order to have things run smoothly. That is very important and we will be working on that next year.”
He added that it was “eye opening” to see what goes on behind the scenes at Reid Hospital when a mass casualty event happens.
In other EMA news:
•The mitigation plan has, once again, been delayed. Anderson was supposed to meet with the contractor this month, but those meetings have been delayed until January.
•Anderson is also in the process of trying to sign up for priority service with Sprint, which will bring a monthly fee.
•He participated in the semi-annual Winter Preparedness Meeting, which is intended to help agencies in Preble County get connected with winter services and safety tips.
•According to Anderson, they held the quarterly LEPC meeting. For the first year ever, they elected their Chairman and Vice-Chairman via email. They needed those positions filled and did not have enough meeting attendance to have a quorum. The bylaws did not have a condition making an email election invalid.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH