Health District Exercises Point of Dispensing Site
On Thursday, February 21st, 2019 the Butler County General Health District exercised a Point of Dispensing (POD) at the Butler Tech Safety Education Complex in Liberty Township. In the event of a large scale public health emergency POD sites throughout Butler County can be used to dispense medications to a large population of healthy people. The ultimate goal of a POD is to quickly provide medical countermeasures to a large number of people in a short period of time.
“This exercise provided Butler County General Health District the opportunity to strengthen our staff’s ability to respond to an emergency, validate current plans, and identify opportunities for improvement, “said Jenny McCoy, Emergency Response Coordinator.
Over the course of several hours, the Butler County General Health District employees had their POD management skills put to the test. The first stage of the exercise involved a timed setup drill meant to test the POD staff’s ability to prepare the location for a mass vaccination clinic within 90 minutes. During the second stage of the exercise, Butler County General Health District POD staff worked together to process as many “clients” as possible through the mass vaccination clinic within a 60 minute timeframe.
“Our volunteers took their roles very seriously and really challenged our staff with situations that could be faced in real life, “remarked Jennifer Bailer, BCGHD Health Commissioner, “We all had a good time handling or playing some ‘wild’ scenarios while honing our skills! Butler County General Health District appreciates all those who gave up their morning to assist us. We also appreciate support from partnering agencies such as Butler County EMA, Highland County, and The Health Collaborative for sending observers.”
Clients were portrayed by 28 volunteers from various organizations across the region. The volunteers were directed through each POD station based on the information on their character card. Each character card was meant to test the POD staff in a new way. These challenges ranged from how to assist a person with a language barrier to assisting a frustrated parent looking for answers about vaccine safety. The exercise wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing show of support from the volunteers involved.
Insights from evaluators, observers, POD staff and volunteers are being consolidated in an After Action Report and Improvement Plan that will be utilized to update plans and trainings, as well as assist in planning future exercises. Overall, it was a great opportunity to exercise emergency plans, train staff, and interact with volunteers from across the region.
To learn how to volunteer with the Butler County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) please visist our Emergency Preparedness page: Butler County Emergency Preparedness Program