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Volunteers needed to test medication dispensing procedures at Summit County Bus Barn
Dan Hendershott, Environmental Health Manager
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County Public Health and several partner organizations will conduct a full-scale infectious disease outbreak exercise on Saturday, June 17, at the Summit County Bus Barn, next to the County Commons in Frisco. The exercise will serve as an opportunity for local public health and law enforcement officials to practice emergency processes that would be used during an actual public health crisis.
“If Summit County experienced a large-scale health emergency, like an anthrax release or pandemic flu, we would need to work very quickly to set up an efficient system through which residents could receive the necessary medications,” Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. “We have processes in place to obtain the medications, transport them here and dispense them to our local population.”
During such an emergency, the Colorado Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, in collaboration with local public health agencies, would activate the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Plans. This would include activating a number of “points of dispensing,” or PODs, across the state to provide life-saving medications to the public.
Summit County Public Health is recruiting volunteers to assist in the exercise by acting as members of the public who would be going through a drive-through POD in a real situation. Volunteers will queue up in a line in their vehicles, complete medical screening paperwork, talk to a medical screener, receive simulated medications and exit the POD site. Volunteers will not be asked to provide real medical information.
The POD will be open from 9-11 a.m., Saturday, June 17, at the Summit County Bus Barn, 222 County Shops Rd., Frisco. Those who have time are encouraged to go through the POD process multiple times to test the limits of the system. Each trip through the POD will take about 10 minutes. Volunteers are asked to leave pets at home, for the safety of public health workers who will hand participants simulated medications while they are sitting in their vehicles.
Volunteers will learn how a POD operates and will know what to expect if a true public health emergency were to occur in Summit County. Volunteers can also take advantage of free drug drop-off services at the event. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office will accept expired or unused prescriptions and over-the-counter medications for safe disposal.
“We’re hoping to get a strong volunteer turnout. Everyone who shows up will be making a real contribution to our community’s resiliency against an actual disease outbreak,” Wineland said. “And as a side benefit, you’ll have a chance to give your medicine cabinet a good spring cleaning.”
Pharmaceutical items accepted for drop-off include prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medication samples, vitamins, prescribed narcotics, medicated lotions and ointments, liquid medications in original leak-proof containers, unopened transdermal skin patches, needles and lancets. Items not accepted include illicit drugs, inhalers, thermometers, infectious waste, chemotherapy waste, personal care products, sunscreen, marijuana, business waste and aerosol cans.
For more information, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/PublicHealthExercise.