PRINEVILLE, OR -- Crook County officials held a full-scale exercise, earlier this month, to practice how the county would respond to an infectious disease outbreak. They're now assessing how it all went.
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Vicky Ryan tells KBND News, "We've never done anything like that, so it was a learning experience for the public and for us. It was designed to give our staff a higher comfort level in the process, in general, in the event that something will happen in the future; and then also to help to start to educate the public so that they will have a higher comfort level, to know what to do if something happens."
Participants went to the Crook County Fairgrounds to be 'treated' as part of the simulation. "We had a total of 253 people show up that we immunized - fake immunized. We set the exercise up where they'd come, drive through, up to a medical station, we would give them their medication and then have them fill out a brief survey." Ryan was disappointed by the low turnout, but thought it went well for the county's first major training. She says the county did quite a bit of advanced notification, in an effort to increase the response, "We tried a multitude of different communication methods; Facebook, social media, was the highest percent of people [who] received our information through that."
Overall, Ryan is pleased with the outcome, "It's doable, and we can set up a process quickly and manage it in a way that it's effective, and we can reach out and help to support the entire community." She says residents can expect more of these in the future as coordinators hone their response. The county also plans to pursue grant funding to purchase additional supplies like radios and emergency response equipment for the next simulation.