Heath Department Completes Exercise Of Emergency Plans


October 18, 2017 | View PDF

The Richland County Health Department has completed an exercise of four emergency plans through a coordinated influenza season response.

The Health Department coordinates with internal programs and external community agencies and organizations to write and exercise emergency plans. The plans lay out how the Health Department will coordinate internally and externally to respond to public health crises, such as floods and disease outbreaks. The plans are exercised regularly, which means that the Health Department plans and carries out a mock disaster response to review and update the plans.

This year, the Health Department used the influenza season response to exercise four emergency plans. One off-site clinic in Lambert was used to exercise the Department’s ability to administer vaccine at an off-site location. The Mass Flu Shot Clinic, held on October 5th, exercised the Department’s ability to manage volunteers, coordinate public health messages, implement the Incident Command system, and administer vaccine to a large number of people. A safety assessment and an assessment of the use of state-provided emergency supplies were also conducted.

The exercise utilized Department staff and eleven Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers, including three nurses, as well as one student nurse, to carry out the activities. The Department coordinated with three pharmacies, many media outlets, schools and businesses to develop and disseminate consistent information regarding flu shots and the clinics.

The Health Department has evaluated the exercise and has identified over ten opportunities for improvement in the process, and will make updates to the four emergency plans by the end of 2017. In a real emergency situation, the Health Department would use these plans to respond to a public health crisis in the most coordinated and effective way.

If you have not received an influenza vaccine, the Department’s influenza season response is ongoing, and flu shots are available during normal clinic hours, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4:30 PM. For more information, contact the Health Department at 406-433-2207.


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