Emergency response partners from Jackson County will conduct a Mass Immunization/Prophylaxis Strategy (MIPS) pneumonic plague bioterrorism exercise on Friday, April 8. Karen Weaver, Incident Commander, is requesting the public’s participation as “patients”. Will it really make a big difference if the public doesn’t participate? Can you say “disaster”?
The MIPS exercise is designed to test and improve the area’s readiness and ability to prophylax (medicate) the total population of Jackson County in 48 hours by dispensing 727 doses per hour. Emergency response partners from Jackson County have been planning and training towards this objective for years, but ultimately the effectiveness of the exercise rests on one thing: public participation.
What do participants need to do? Exactly what they would do if it were a real emergency. Residents of the county would go to the MIPS site, the Altus Community Center on Falcon Road for this exercise, to participate. Just as if this were a real event, they will proceed through triage, which identifies symptomatic patients, to forms (the NAPH form, listing family members or household residents, address and medical allergies), forms review, medical evaluation, medication pick-up and exit interview. Target time from triage through the exit interview is 5 to 7 minutes.
The ultimate test of any plan is stress; only by stressing our emergency response plan and the responders can any flaws and problems be identified – and resolved before an actual emergency or disaster. The primary way to apply this stress is with a large number participant “patients”.
If you are in Altus on April 8 between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., please go by the MIPS site, the Altus Community Center on Falcon Road, and participate. Signs and traffic control will direct participants. Organizations, clubs, churches or other groups are asked to encourage their members to participate, and, if possible, for businesses to allow employees to participate.
If a disaster strikes you want the quickest, most efficient response possible. A small investment of your time now will help ensure that emergency responders are ready to provide you with the help you need. For more information on the April 8 exercise or to volunteer as a responder please contact Rosalyn Hall at 580-482-7308 or Phillip Beauchamp at 580-471-1357. Your participation will make a difference.
Reach Mary Billingsley at firstname.lastname@example.org