Schenectady County Holds Public Health Preparedness Drill to Test Medical Dispensing Emergency Plans
Schenectady County Public Health Services joined with numerous community partners on March 1, 2017 to hold a Point of Dispensing (POD) preparedness drill at Niskayuna High School. The goal of the drill was to be prepared to respond to a public health emergency, with this drill specifically testing our medical dispensing plans in the case of a biological event.
“If a true medical emergency occurred, our community could have a short window of opportunity to provide the necessary medical countermeasure to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Karen Johnson, Vice-Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature and Chair of the Committee on Health and Human Services. “This is why we need to prepare for any unanticipated emergency, working closely with our community partners, to be ready with a coordinated response that could save lives.”
To ensure that the County can quickly respond, emergency plans are developed and then tested looking for strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. Today’s event was based on a MOCK biological event that is causing infection and has the potential to cause extensive disease or fatalities. The goal is to provide the medical countermeasure following all rules and regulations that exist under the NYS Education Department and the State Pharmacy Board for prescribing and dispensing in a non-emergency situation. In the event of a real emergency, with the governor signing an emergency declaration, some of the current State Education and State Pharmacy Board rules and regulations would be relaxed to allow efficient response to the emergency. The Point of Dispensing (POD) site was also tested to ensure it is appropriate to utilize as a POD for future events.
Additionally this exercise tested the ability to pull multiple community partners together to work cooperatively. Partners included Schenectady County Public Health Services, Schenectady County Office of Emergency Management, Niskayuna Police and Fire Departments, Niskayuna Central School District, Ellis Hospital, Schenectady ARC, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, Golub Corp., Capital Care Medical Group, Schenectady County Auxiliary Police, Schenectady County Medical Reserve Corps, Schenectady City Fire Hazmat, Visiting Nurse Service of Northeastern New York and Boy Scouts of America Troop 501.