EMA Exercise

By: Ashley Edlund Email
By: Ashley Edlund Email
The Wiregrass is preparing for

FILE - In this Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 file photo, health workers slaughter all the chickens at the wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong after three dead chickens tested positive for bird flu. The U.S. government asked scientists Tuesday Dec. 20, 2011 not to reveal all the details of how to make a version of the deadly bird flu that they created in labs in the U.S. and Europe. The lab-bred virus, being kept under high security, appears to spread more easily among mammals. That's fueled worry that publishing a blueprint could aid terrorists in creating a biological weapon, the National Institutes of Health said. Bird flu, known formally as H5N1 avian influenza, occasionally infects people who have close contact with infected poultry, particularly in parts of Asia. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

DeAnn White remembers September 11th. But what she doesn't remember is thinking it could happen.

White said ,“Who thought the two Twin Towers would have gone down within minutes with planes flying into them? I think everybody should have had a wake up call from that.”

And if that wasn't enough, right after those attacks, the country was on alert with anthrax scares.

Those scares are why White and dozens of volunteers participated in an emergency management exercise in Dothan Thursday.

White said,”Today we're pretending we're having an anthrax type attack.”

Pretending? Yes. But with supplies coming in and dozens of volunteers on their toes, nursing student Windy Carter says it feels like the real deal.

Carter said, “It's put me in a real world scenario and I can see what really happens now.”

If disaster did strike, volunteers like Carter say they wouldn't have been much help before.

Wallace Community College Student Catherine Hewitt said, “I probably would have been in chaos, probably would have been running around with my head cut off.”

But this drill prepares them for more than just an anthrax scare.

It targets how to respond if there is a massive outbreak of a disease or if a large number of people need medicine at the same time.

The Strategic National Stock Pile is a last resort if a real pandemic is happening and hospitals are out of supplies.

That's why volunteers and health officials are taking this drill seriously, just like they do threats.

White said, “Every other day there's a white powder envelope being received everyday, just because it's not in your face doesn't mean it's not there.”

There or not, volunteers are staying organized and preparing for anything.

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