ST. GEORGE, UT – The Southwest Utah Public Health Department (SWUPHD), along with several partner agencies, will conduct a full scale emergency exercise on Thursday, March 17th throughout the southwest Utah region. The purpose of this drill will be to test local response to a "medical surge". This is a scenario in which a disease outbreak would overwhelm hospitals and back up plans would be activated to provide care in the community.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to act as patients who will arrive at local hospitals in Washington, Iron, Kane, Beaver, and Garfield counties on March 17th between 8:00 am and noon. Some volunteers will also be asked to phone into emergency response agencies. Breakfast and training will be provided.
Volunteers are also needed for an hour at 7:00 pm that night to show up as a client at a Point of Distribution (POD) site. PODs are set up to give out preventive medications for certain diseases.
"This is a great opportunity to see how our hospitals and emergency services would respond in a pandemic event," says Paulette Valentine, SWUPHD Emergency Preparedness & Response Director. "Although local agencies have practiced many time before and work well together, this will be the largest exercise we've ever done. We hope a lot of community members will join us as volunteers as well."
To register as a volunteer and get more information, visit swuhealth.org, where you will find a link to the Surge Pandemic Exercise on the front page.