AELEXANDRIA, NJ – The county conducted a drill recently to test its response to an emergency such as an anthrax attack.

The purpose of the drill was to evaluate the county’s Division of Public Health ability to distribute medication during a public health crisis.

The county maintains a “Fixed Facility Plan” that would provide medication to employees of county businesses to protect them and their families in such an event.

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The Feb. 23 drill participants included local pre-registered businesses, who picked up medication 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 county businesses and schools. Facilities enrolled in the 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-through” 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 state Department of Health and representatives from FEMA were in attendance at the drill.

The drill provided medication for the employees and families of 40 businesses – an equivalent of approximately 20,000 individual doses of potentially life-saving medication.

“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,” said county Freeholder Director John Lanza in a press release.