Walker Baptist hosts anthrax drill
by Jennifer Cohron
Jun 06, 2014 | 3057 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker Baptist Medical Center hosted a simulated anthrax drill on Thursday in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

The hospital is a closed point of distribution, or POD, that provides emergency medications to WBMC employees and their families in a crisis. The general public are served at open PODs set up throughout the county.

Walker Baptist is the first closed POD in the state to participate in such a drill.

“This exercise helped to prepare our employees for a crisis of this magnitude, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with the many agencies who committed their time and resources to ensure our community is prepared,” said hospital spokesperson Suzanne Pugh.

In the simulation, local residents have been exposed to anthrax by a crop dusting plane.

A group of teen volunteers and members of Walker Baptist Volunteer Services posed as health care workers or their family members in need of prophylactic, or preventative, medication.

The actors were initially interviewed at a triage station. Those who were exhibiting symptoms of an anthrax exposure were sent to the emergency room.

All others were referred to one of the dispensing stations inside the hospital where they picked up their medication.

Representatives of Walker County EMA, Alabama EMA, ADPH, Jasper police and fire departments, the Walker County Sheriff’s Department, Alabama State Troopers and Walker County Amateur Radio Emergency Services were on-site Thursday along with WBMC leadership and staff, state and local evaluators and observers from other closed PODs in the state.

Walker County EMA coordinator Regina Myers said the drill was a learning experience for all involved.

“The hospital staff did great. They caught onto some things immediately that could be done a little differently and fixed them right away so that everything would run more smoothly,” Myers said.