New York's Yates County refines emergency preparedness plans

Public health officials in Yates County, New York, have conducted a series of bioterror response drills as part of developing its emergency response capabilities.

A biological event would require Yates County officials to distribute medical countermeasures to approximately 25,000 residents. In addition, the county's emergency plans must be somewhat unique because it hosts a considerable number of seasonal vacationers every year, according to

Yates County Public Health is developing and refining its plans to distribute medical countermeasures to everyone present in the county within a period of just 48 hours. To do so, YCPH has created both a point of dispensing, or pull, method and a push method.

The pull method requires YCPH to set up and manage a series of clinics that dispense MCMs to the public. The push method has YCPH distribute MCMs to local area community groups, businesses and agencies that, in turn, distribute them to their members.

YCPH's Marge Brinn said that practicing both plans is critical for emergency preparedness. The department recently held a point of dispensing exercise at a local elementary school cafeteria. It was scheduled to hold a previous one in October until Hurricane Sandy caused its cancellation.

"This success would not have been possible without the working help from the YCPH Medical Reserve Corps. This is a dedicated trained group of both medical and non-medical volunteers that are willing and able to assist in meeting the public health needs of our community," Brinn said, reports.