Flu pandemic drill prepares Colquitt Co. - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Flu pandemic drill prepares Colquitt Co.

May 8, 2007

Moultrie-  If a flu pandemic strikes south Georgia, will health systems be ready? Public Health workers and Colquitt Regional Medical Center were put to the test Tuesday.

It was just a drill, but the exercise simulated what might happen if a catastrophe, like a flu pandemic, overwhelmed healthcare providers and emergency managers.

"Are you to be seen here as well?" questioned a nurse. "Yes, and this is my five month old who's also very sick," responded a patient.

Colquitt Regional Health System set up a mock triage unit in their education building as the drill began and 60 flu patients poured in. "I hurt everywhere, my arms are hurting," cried another patient.

"They say it's not if it's coming, it's when it's coming, we're trying to get a little idea of how we can address a chaotic situation with a very major response as a facility," said Dr. D. W. Adcock, CRMC Medical Staff Director.

For hours Public Health and Colquitt Regional Medical Center ran through the scenarios, where patients would go, who would be sent home, when a vaccine could be developed to help, how medical staff would be dealt with? It's an exercise they could use for any emergency situation, including a weather disaster like the March first tornado in Americus.

"I think the biggest thing learned today was whose job was what and who they report to. Once you do that, you're no longer worried about a situation because the person you're talking with is taking care of that for you," said Robert Thomas, Incident Commander.

It allowed the entire community to see how each agency would respond and work with each other and outside the community to fulfill the needs.

"So, if we had a need here, let's say and we did for oxygen, I could automatically click and I might be talking to Athens Regional up in Athens, Georgia and if they had a supply they could supply it to us, said Bob Howe, CRMC Safety & Security Officer.

So next time a disaster strikes south Georgia, agencies are better prepared to deal with the crisis.

More than a dozen community agencies participated in Tuesday's drill.

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