It was a different form of exercise for the Hillsboro High School freshman physical education class.
Marion County Health Department staged a training exercise Friday with the PE class participating.
Here is how it worked.
The scenario was a train had derailed near a large public function, causing exposure to anthrax. The health department received the scenario information March 20. With that information, a plan was put into action where the department requested a stockpile of medications.
“This in itself has a formal procedure that is followed,” said Diedre Serene, Marion County Public Health Administrator.
The department received the simulated medications March 25, and a dispensing site was set up the following day.
On Friday, the drill began that involved HHS.
Students were assigned different scenarios. Some students were sick and were isolated. The other students were sent through a checkpoint or POD (Point of Dispensing), answering questions that pertained to themselves and their families.
“Medication,” which actually was candy, was appropriately dispensed to the students, depending on their scenario.
In all, 306 people participated in a two-hour period.
“If this had been an actual situation, we would have set up in the Hillsboro High School commons,” Serene said. “All of the needed information regarding dispensing, such as date and time, would have been found on local television stations, and Wichita television and radio stations, the county website, and other public accessible places,” she said.
In the case of an actual emergency, households would have sent one person to pick up medications for the family if exposed to the toxin. She emphasized that only well people would have come to the sites.
“This was the first time we did this exercise,” Serene said. “We’d like to do it annually.”
The exercise was a requirement for a grant from Public Health Emergency Preparedness & Response.
Assistance also was provided from Marion County Clerk’s office, Marion County Emergency Management, Hillsboro Police Department, and HHS personnel.