Health Officials Hold Mock Disaster Drill

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

October 27, 2005

Do you know what to do in case of a disaster in the Charlottesville area? You may, but you'd probably rest a bit better knowing the rescuers are prepared as well. People in our area recently took part in a drill to help them prepare.

The drill took place at First Baptist Church on Park street in Charlottesville, and happened as part of a multi-state public health emergency exercise.

The exercise was a joint partnership between the Thomas Jefferson Area Health District, Virginia Health Department, and the University of Virginia Medical Reserve Corps.

Organizing the mock drill, over the last six months, involved local, state, and federal representatives who gave fake shots and prescribed medication during this exercise. The drill's focus was for all participants to get more practice treating victims who come in contact with various chemicals, or contract various viruses such as smallpox or monkey pox.

While the chances are pretty low to contract small pox in Charlottesville, it could still happen. All it takes is one terrorist attack in the Central Virginia area.

"Smallpox has been wiped off the face of the Earth since the late 70s. However, there are indications that some of the terrorists still have that in their capabilities. Thus [what] we're planning on hopefully something that never happens, which might be an attack of smallpox," said Roy Crewz, or the Virginia Health Department.

The exercise takes place every year. Officials said the three groups involved get better and better each year. Hundreds of people participated this year as patients, with many thanks in part due to students at the University of Virginia.

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