Event is popular, but also good practice for emergencies
Based on the success of last November’s first-ever, stay-in-your-car, roll-down-your-window, roll-up-your-sleeve, get-a-flu-shot and drive off event held at College of the Canyons, local authorities have announced that a similar event will be held at the college on November 16, 2007. Flu shots will be administered to the public from 10 am to 1 pm.
The flu-shot production line will be a joint effort on the part of College of the Canyons, the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the City of Santa Clarita and the L.A. County Sheriff and Fire Departments. It is anticipated that 1,200 flu shots will be administered during this 3-hour period.
Flu shots are often provided to the public in anticipation of an active flu season but the event serves a secondary purpose. This exercise will also test the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) response during a bioterrorism attack. The purpose of the CRI plan is to treat an impacted, mass population with medications within a short time period. Under the plan, the drive thru clinic is called a rapid point of dispensing or POD. College of the Canyons is a designated POD site for the bioterrorism plan.
”We learned a lot from last year's drive-thru exercise,” said Donna Nuzzi, the City of Santa Clarita's Emergency Services Supervisor, “and we plan to improve our efficiency this year. When you are working with a number of agencies in an exercise such as this, this practice time will enhance how we all respond to a real incident.”
”The planning and implementing of the clinic fosters cooperation and communication between agencies that otherwise don’t often work together, who need to be able to coordinate their response in the event of a national emergency,” said Beverly Kemmerling, Director of Student Health and Wellness at the college.
In the event of a large outbreak of disease or a regional terrorist attack, many sites similar to this one in Santa Clarita would be needed to serve the needs of California communities.
According to public health officials, the 2006 flu clinic was one of the best in all of California. More than 120 volunteers from the participating agencies helped coordinate the event. The clinic was not only a challenge for COC nursing students who helped administer the shots under the supervision of nursing instructors and County personnel, but provided valuable information about organization, traffic control and other logistics
required to move a large number of people through the system in the shortest amount of time.
More than 800 community members participated and received the free shots during a three-hour period last year.