New York county health department holds anthrax response drill

The Clinton County Health Department in New York State recently conducted an emergency preparedness drill to test dispensing procedures for medical countermeasures.

The primary focus of the exercise was to test the health department's ability to process a minimum of 50 people every minute to receive countermeasures in case of an emergency. During the drill, the health department managed to process 71 patients per 15 minutes during peak times, according to

The exercise identified a target group in the community to add an element of realism to the proceedings. In this case, a number of seniors had been exposed to anthrax through the mail. Most of the drill's participants were in the target group, giving the scenario a need for an offsite fully functional response system.

The drill was conducted as part of emergency preparedness requirements decided by the New York State Health Department.

The second aim of the exercise, as required by the NYSHD, was to have all of the participants register electronically. The drill allowed no on-site registration as part of a test of the Clinical Date Management System.

"This type of drill is essential to the safety of the community and the ongoing need to apply skills learned in a realistic situation," the CCHD said, reports. "Emergency partner agencies in our community implement similar type drills specific to their skill set and resources."