Leon County Full-Scale Preparedness Exercise [GALLERY]

UPDATE 4:55 p.m. 12-20-13
Story by James Buechele

What would happen if a biological or chemical agent, like Anthrax, infected thousands at an FSU football game?

Health officials in Leon County faced that exact scenario Friday morning. The North Florida Fairgrounds was turned into a POD drill or Point of Distribution center after an anthrax attack at a Seminole football game. The drill was put on by the the Florida Department of Health in Leon County.

"That's what this exercise is all about is being prepared in case something does happen in our area," said Holly Kirsch of the Florida department of health.

In this case, timing is everything.

"Make sure everyone is on the same time table. We know when the meds are going to arrive. Coordinate everybody so they're on the same page."

In this scenario, there are three tents that clients have to go to. After filling out their forms and being medically evaluated, they then go to a third tent where they'll come and pick up their medication.

The supplies would be brought in from the Strategic National Stockpile that houses specific medicine at undisclosed locations. This is essential for cities to combat a chemical or biological attack.

"They're brought so that a community who typically wouldn't stock large quantities of those things can be prepared and have the equipment they need to take care of their community," said emergency consultant Rick Stilp.

More than 60 health officials and law enforcement agents were part of Friday's exercise. The drill was the first of its kind in Tallahassee.

News Release: Florida Department of Health in Leon County

Date: Friday, December 20, 2013

Time: Media Briefing, from 10 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Photos/video opportunity available immediately after the briefing

Location: North Florida Fair Grounds, Tram Road entrance (map's attached)

--Meet Sam MacDonell, Regional Emergency Response Advisor, at Tram Road Gate for escort to briefing in medication building.
--Gate will be unlocked to allow media to enter as a group for the briefing.

Note: We will not be able to accommodate latecomers (gate will be locked for duration of exercise except at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to allow media to enter and exit).

The Florida Department of Health in Leon County, with its community agency partners, is conducting a full-scale exercise to practice having a mass prophylaxis of residents and visitors in case of emergency. The Strategic National Stockpile will be called down, delivering medications and medical supplies to the point of dispensing (POD), which will be the North Florida Fair Grounds. The graded exercise is also part of the national accreditation process for DOH-Leon.

Holly Kirsch, LD, RD, acting administrator of DOH-Leon, will brief media, at 10 a.m.

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