Some 22 members of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center carried out an exercise drill in response to a potential anthrax terrorist attack as part of a FEMA program.
The June 19 trial run was conducted at the Auburn Hills MORC office between 11 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
MORC has been designated as an emergency response entity by FEMA in case of a catastrophic terrorist event, said Maureen Stone, MORC’s health and safety coordinator.
Some 60 designated MORC staff had the task of taking antidotal medication to their household members within 75 minutes so they can be protected from anthrax, a deadly airborne contagion. The antidotal medication is Doxycycline. It is administered twice a day with food for 10 days.
Besides MORC, other entities in the nationwide exercise participated in the Closed Point of Dispensing Drill. Each year, FEMA will conduct a similar Closed POD test to make sure agencies such as MORC can help protect staff and the public in case of another 9-11 type event.
If an attack occurs, the Oakland County Health Division will notify Human Resources Director Peter Lynch and he will pass the word on to designated MORC staff to take the anthrax antidote to family members.
In the event of a real attack, citizens are to go to hospitals, private doctors, urgent care facilities, or antidote dispensing places that could even be set up at malls or grocery stores.
“The whole idea is to prevent, promote, and protect our health and well-being,” said Stone.
The purpose of the drill was to “educate you on what to do in case of a catastrophic event just the same as we have in the event of a tornado or a fire,” she added. “It was a job well done.”
MORC’s 303 staff members are asked to review an email sent by Cathy Gibson concerning their consent to participate in the Closed POD and share contact information on a call-down list.
To learn more, call The Oakland County Health and Services Hotline at 800-848-5533.
--MORC writer in residence Jerry Wolffe