Hunterdon County Division of Public Health, Department of Public Safety conducted an emergency preparedness drill on February 23rd at the Everittstown facility in Kingwood Township. The drill tested the department’s ability to distribute medication during a public health emergency, such as a deliberate anthrax release. The Hunterdon County Health Division maintains a Fixed Facility Plan to provide medications for Hunterdon County businesses to protect employees and their families in the event of a public health crisis. The February 23rd drill participants included local pre-registered businesses, picking up medication for their staff and family members at the county’s back-up medication distribution location.
While the Health Division maintains a First Responder Plan providing medication to EMS, Fire, Police and other county first responders, the Fixed Facility Plan is targeted at Hunterdon County businesses and schools. Facilities enrolled in this Plan are eligible to receive medication for their staff and family members first, prior to medication being provided to the general public at community clinics. At the drill, county staff practiced the logistics of receiving a large amount of medication, repackaging and labeling material, and distributing medication to business owners in a “drive-thru” facility set up. The Division of Public Health, County Office of Emergency Management, and Prosecutor’s Office participate in the planning and operation of the medication distribution process. Other local health agencies, municipal Offices of Emergency Management, the New Jersey Department of Health, and representatives from FEMA were in attendance at the drill.
The drill was successful in providing medication for the employees and families of 40 Hunterdon County businesses – an equivalent of approximately 20,000 individual doses of potentially life-saving medication. Partnering with local employers is an efficient method of distributing medication, and eliminates the need for employees to attend a large public emergency medication distribution center. According to John Lanza, Freeholder Director, “The health and safety of our residents is a top priority, and testing our plans is the best way to ensure we can serve our residents in a public health emergency.”
For more information about the drill or the fixed facility program, please contact the County Division of Public Health, at 908-788-1351.