ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 78th Medical Group recently conducted a Disease Containment Point of Distribution, or PoD, exercise from its warehouse facility.
The event tested the group’s ability to respond to the needs of Robins’ mission-essential personnel in the event of a major public health emergency within the community.
The scenario simulated a pneumonic plague outbreak. A PoD was setup for the purpose of dispensing preventative medicines to first responders who would be serving the public in a contaminated environment.
“This exercise is important because in the event of a real world public emergency, it would be critical that we’re able to meet the needs of our first responders so they may in turn care for others,” said Col. Michael Martin, Robins Public Health Emergency officer.
After receiving notice of the simulated outbreak, team members moved quickly to transform the unit’s warehouse facility into a distribution point.
The goal of the setup was to move as many people through the PoD as quickly as possible enabling them to immediately go about performing their duties in their areas of responsibility.
As mock patients arrived at the warehouse, they were ushered into a briefing room where they were advised of the particulars of the situation. The staff calmly worked to put visitors at ease and provided answers to many of their questions and concerns. The group provided pamphlets with information about the disease associated with the outbreak.
After filling out medical screening forms in the briefing room, mock patients were directed to a triage point managed by a doctor. Personal information provided to the doctor was used to determine whether the individual would be directed to a fast-track line or to speak with a pharmacist.
The fast-track line was for individuals with no identified risk factors to the offered treatment. This line dispensed a standard dosage of prophylaxis to help prevent disease.
Those with identified risk factors were directed to a pharmacist who would determine the appropriate dosage of preventive medicine for that person’s best protection.
The warehouse was staffed with guards who manned entry and exit points, directed visitors and maintained order inside the area.
“I look forward to these type exercises because if anything is going to breakdown in an actual crisis, this is where you get to see where things might breakdown,” said Martin. “This type of live training prepares our staff to perform well in real world situations.”
The exercise was conducted under the observation of the 78th Air Base Wing Inspection Team who reviews performance during the exercise with the unit to help identify possible areas of improvement.
The 78th MDG conducts simulated disease-containment PoD exercises once every two years.