That’s when each exposure “is treated like a crime scene,” Strack said, where the exposed person’s clothes are collected, their home decontaminated and they are processed through to obtain a 10-day supply of medicine with orders to see their own doctor if their condition gets worse and return for follow-up care and more antidote.
Hospitals would be overwhelmed with patients in a real large-scale emergency, so having trained professionals manning these kinds of dispensing centers could ensure only the people who show real symptoms of exposure would get that level of care.
“There is no guarantee people will take (the medicine), but that’s not what we’re here for,” she said. “We’re keeping people out of the medical system, but sending them to their doctor when they need help.”
‘CHOMPING AT THE BIT’
The student volunteers went through the processing stations twice to give the professional staff more practice and additional data for the drill.
St. Regis Falls Principal Marc Czadzeck said the district asks students who belong to the school’s various clubs to commit to community-service activities, and used the exercise to fulfill that promise.
Many of students are earning their emergency-medical service certification to be part of local fire departments and rescue units “so some of them are really chomping at the bit to get here and help out,” he said.
“Some come down to the firehouse when a call comes in and their classes are done so they can help out,” Czadzeck said.
In addition to the student and senior-citizen volunteers, Adult Center staff, the School District and emergency, law-enforcement and data-processing people who helped carry out the drill, Strack thanked the other participating agencies for their help and support.
They included the Essex County Health Department; Alice Hyde Medical Center; Adirondack Medical Center; the Retired Senior Volunteer Program; Franklin County’s Office for the Aging, highway and buildings and grounds departments; and the Medical Reserve Corps, a team of voluntary medical personnel and professionals from all walks of life who volunteer their skills and time during a disaster.
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