Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is looking for volunteers for an exercise on Thursday, October 14, 2010, at the Tacoma Dome. The exercise will test the department’s ability to distribute medication to all county residents if there were a disease outbreak.
“The only way we can improve our plans is to test them,” said Nigel Turner, Communicable Disease Division Director. “To test our system accurately, we need hundreds of volunteers to challenge our assumptions and operating procedures. Volunteers who participate will be helping to make sure all residents in Pierce County can be medicated quickly if there were an infectious agent spreading in the area.”
This emergency preparedness drill will not involve an actual infectious agent. And medication, in this case, will be candy. Federal laws require that local public health departments have plans for distributing medication to all residents of a county within forty-eight hours of notification. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has had a plan for several years and has tested elements of the plan. This will be the first large-scale testing, which will also test the Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, many of whom are nurses and physicians. The Medical Reserve Corps is a key resource in any Health Department response.
The exercise will take place at the Tacoma Dome on Thursday, October 14, 2010, from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. There is no pre-registration needed. Volunteers are encouraged to be at the Dome by 7:00 a.m. and be willing to wait in line. Actions will include completing a form, being interviewed quickly, and then receiving medication (candy). Anyone who wants to, can complete the form prior to getting to the Dome.
The exercise will occur on the same day and just prior to Homeless Connect at the Tacoma Dome. Homeless Connect is an event which provides basic services to homeless people in the county. Health Department staff and volunteers will be working with staff and volunteers from many organizations in Pierce County, providing homeless people with assistance related to health and other needs.