BATH - An emergency preparedness drill was held in the Haverling High School Gymnasium Tuesday to test local capabilities against a possible exposure to Hepatitis A from a fictional grocery store scenario.
“The mass vaccination drill is part of our Emergency Preparedness Program,” said Lorelei Wagner, Steuben County Public Health Education Coordinator.
“We’re testing our systems that are in place, testing our volunteers and staff to see if we have enough preparedness for an actual event.”
According to Wagner, Tuesday’s scenario was from the New York State Department of Health.
Wagner was sure that everyone involved knew it was a drill.
“It is a simulated scenario - nothing real about it,” she said.
The gym was separated into two sections - one for incoming patients and one for evaluation and treatment.
“We have our volunteer patients that get guided through lines and when they pass through the curtain, they go through medical screening, evaluation and they also get their vaccine,” Wagner said.
No vaccines were given to any of the volunteers, Wagner added.
“In our event, the vaccine is being given to oranges - which were donated by Sam’s Club. And it’s not vaccine fluid - it’s IV fluid,” she said.
The purpose of the drill was to see how many persons could be treated in a given time period.
“We are trying to get 77 people an hour through. We’re testing our timing so we know how many people we need to staff an event like this,” Wagner said. “Hopefully, we’ll meet our goal.
“I think we’ve been doing well. I know that adjustments were made earlier. Lines were out the doors, so we knew we needed more screeners to help get them moving faster.
Everything we learn here today, we’ll take into a real event and hopefully things will go as smoothly as possible.”
Wagner said that seven screening stations were being used, in addition to 14 vaccination stations.
While the County Public Health Department holds smaller-scale drills annually, Tuesday’s event was considered a big-scale drill.
“Our last big-scale drill was in 2015, so we have one about every three years,” Wagner said. “We have four locations, so this gives us an opportunity to test the structure at Haverling High School. Our last big-scale drill was at Corning-Painted Post High School.”