Led by the Clay County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health, members of the Clay Community School Corporation, Clay County Sheriff's Department and Clay County Emergency Management Agency participated in the drill to learn more about how to efficiently and effectively set up a POD.
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a POD site is a mass-dispensing site capable of quickly providing medications (prophylaxis) or vaccinations to protect the community from bacterial/biological threats, epidemics or disasters within a target goal of 48 hours to provide treatment for the entire population.
"In a real event, this will get medical services to those who need it as soon as possible, help save time and lives and lower morbidity and mortality," CCHD Health Officer Dr. R. Farid said.
"This has been a good learning experience."
The drill allowed officials the opportunity to scrutinize the POD operation from the most minute details -- such as whether the language on signs was understandable and the use of bullhorns for communication purposes -- to the big ones -- like medicine dispersal and treatment guidelines and security.
Using government funding, ISDH Team Leader for District 7 Steve Cradick said plans for this program have been worked on and in effect for more than five years throughout Indiana. Clay County, along with Vigo, Parke, Vermillion, Sullivan, Greene, Owen and Putnam, make up District 7.
Officials confirmed all of the counties have had similar exercises in the past 30-60 days and that participating in these types of drills helps determine dispersement of grant money from the emergency preparedness dollars.
"This helps all counties to collaborate," Cradick said about the various counties' need to be able to work together in a large emergency.
Clay County Public Health Nurse Diane Dierks organized and directed the local drill at North Clay Middle School. However, she explained in an emergency the POD could be placed anywhere in the county using guidelines from the ISDH, CDC and with input from the CCEMA.
"These sites can be set up where they are most needed," Dierks said. "The goal is to get help to those who need it most."
ISDH District 7 Training and Exercise Coordinator Jennifer Lucas, RN, was on hand to evaluate the drill and provide suggestions on how to make things better. The drill evaluation, coincidentally came back perfect.
"(Clay County) went above and did more than what was necessary for this drill," Lucas said after the evaluation. "After working locally on the plans in the past, and then to come here and see it culminated into this, it's great to see it all come together. They really did a great job."