Public Health Exercise
The Sedgwick County Health Department will conduct a three-day preparedness exercise April 9 - 11. The exercise will test the ability of multiple county departments and other local organizations to respond in the event of a public health emergency, specifically the ability to successfully set up, operate and tear down neighborhood distribution centers (NDCs), also referred to as point of dispensing centers (PODs). NDCs are pre-designated sites that can be set up to quickly distribute medications, vaccinations and information.
“These exercises help us to better understand the processes, timing, capacity and potential holes in our emergency response plans,” said Claudia Blackburn, health department director. “We can map everything out on paper, but until we test our plans in a real-world environment, we won’t really know how various challenges could affect our abilities. And, we prefer to test them now rather than during an emergency.”
Media personnel will have two opportunities to observe and participate in the exercise. The emergency operations center (EOC) at 714 N. Main in Wichita will be activated during the exercise; media personnel may visit the EOC between 9 and 11 a.m. April 10 to film the activities and conduct interviews. NDCs also will be activated during the exercise; media personnel are invited to participate by moving through an NDC operation at 11 a.m. April 11 at Wichita State University’s Koch Arena.
During these three days, messages may appear in multiple locations regarding the activities of the exercise. These messages will begin with “this is an exercise” and should not be considered related to a real emergency.