Anthrax drill teaches people how to protect citizens

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RANDOLPH, W.Va. (WDTV)- Today, some people had the opportunity to practice what to do in case of an anthrax attack.

Volunteers prepare for the anthrax drill.

The Randolph-Elkins Health Department held a full-scale threat preparedness exercise at the Phil Gainer Community Center.

"The primary effort," said event-coordinator Bonnie Woodrum, "is to protect everyone in the community.

The event tested how prepared people would be to protect citizens from an anthrax attack.

"If you practice, you find your weak spots," said Woodrum, "You also engage the community and community partners to know how they can fit into the response [team]."

The drill simulated a mass clinic using something known as the "head of household model".

Woodrum explained that the "head of household model" calls for one member of each family comes to the relief center and fill out the medication paperwork for each family member. This model reduces exposure to the threat and keeps the emergency center organized.

According to Woodrum, this model can be used in other biological-threat situations and with practice, is very effective.

Volunteers who attended the event role-played how a real scenario would happen.

Medical and emergency personnel practiced the roles they would fill in the event of a real anthrax-threat.

Other volunteers pretended to be victims of an anthrax attack and walked through the process of receiving medication.

One volunteer, Misti Shine, explained why more people should participate in these kind of community drills.

"Being involved in these kind of activities gives us the opportunity to see how this would affect our community and what kind of training we would need to do in the future in order to get this right," Shine said.