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Health department trains for public health emergency

In the event of a public health emergency, dispensing medication to large amounts of people could be crucial. That's why the Tippecanoe County Health Department is staying prepared with special training.

Posted: Nov. 10, 2017 7:38 AM
Updated: Nov. 10, 2017 10:29 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - In the event of a public health emergency, dispensing medication to large amounts of people could be crucial. That's why the Tippecanoe County Health Department is staying prepared with special training.
"I think my favorite part was that it was something new, outside of the classroom," said Naomi Haas Levens, a nursing student.
Haas Levens learned a lot during a training exercise put on by the Tippecanoe County Health Department.
"This was a POD Disaster Relief Exercise. Basically, the point of it is trying to give them experience with working people through, to give them experience in case a disaster actually did happen in the community," explained Haas Levens.
The health department trained with various departments from Purdue University, including nursing and pharmacy students. The exercise is considered experienced-based learning for the students. They figure out which medication is best for particular needs, then dispense it in a timely manner.
"I think that this was a great opportunity to have. We did it conjunction with our public health class, so it was definitely appropriate to the material we are currently learning," said Haas Levens.
Organizers with the health department said the department is lucky to have Purdue in the community.
"They are a huge and tremendous resource for us locally within the county. So, they're a great source of assistance, a source of volunteers for us in a time of need," said Ryan Tennessen, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
It's something the health department will continue to do in order to be prepared.
"Pretty much once or twice a year, we're at least practicing this. Just making sure all of our plans are working and that we're all getting trained and prepared to go if or when something were to happen," said Tennessen.
The skills from Thursday's training would most likely be used to dispense antibiotics to prevent further illness in a health emergency.

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