Robert Goff gave the Bradley County Health Council an update on the exercise at its meeting this week.
The goal was to see if the health department could handle making antibiotics available to everyone in Bradley County in an emergency.
Goff, the emergency manager for the Southeast region, said the high school made available all 1,600 students for the exercise.
The training scenario may turn out to be the largest exercise completed in the state.
“These were real students in a real school day,” Goff said.
A goal was set to see if the health workers could administer “antibiotics” to 1,600 high school students in 75 minutes.
Students were instructed to go through the cafeteria at their designated times. Each student received a scenario card which assigned them a gender, condition and age.
According to Goff, the medical cards allowed the department to check for medical errors.
Fictitious backgrounds ensured students were not asked for personal information. The cards were then given to health workers for the proper medication for each “patient’s” infliction.
The primary focus was to figure out the best formation for receiving an influx of individuals in need of medication.
Goff said the exercise was not meant to study particulars like effects of staff change and the traffic flow.
The 75-minute operation needed to be completed before the first lunch bell.
Several students were used to run clipboards during the exercises.
Goff said some were even sweating. He explained over 1,400 students came through during the 75-minute exercise. A total of 2,335 medicine prescriptions were filled.
“Will we ever see 1,400 sets of feet in 75 minutes?” Goff said. “I don’t know.”
Goff added, “We would rather test it and not experience it, than not test it and not know what to do.”
He said there was much to learn from the training exercise.
To increase efficiency, personnel decided staff members needed to be easily identified. Workers putting together prescriptions should also have longer nails to easily peel stickers off. Goff said nails or another device would work. These issues were not considered before the exercise.
Bradley County Health Department Director Eloise Waters suggested doing a split county exercise with a training exercise at Cleveland High School and BCHS at the same time.
Health council members continued their discussion on mental health prior to Goff’s presentation.
Emily McComb of the United Way passed out packets containing contact information for services throughout Bradley County.
Hiwassee Mental Health’s Teresa Shull suggested electronic copies being given to caseworkers, nonprofit organizations, doctors and other organizations of service in the community.
Shady Hernandez of The Caring Place’s Neighbors in Need program agreed. She said the average person does not need a list of services. It is more beneficial for service workers to tell them where to find help.
Shull said any information passed to clients or patients would be utilized most if in the form of a colorful brochure.
Members were encouraged to tell McComb if their information was out of date.