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Michigan community prepares for disease outbreaks

One of the worst disasters that can strike a community is a pandemic of a harmful or lethal disease and preparing for such scenarios is key to minimizing their impact. To get ready for a potential outbreak, volunteers in Wayne County, Mich., recently participated in a training exercise, Observer & Eccentric reported.

Dozens of participants were present for the emergency drill at Churchill High School in Livonia, one of 18 locations near Detroit used for the exercise. Volunteers trained in various skills needed for establishing a point of dispensing. These sites, abbreviated as PODs, help reduce the strain on medical personnel during an epidemic.

"The whole point of all these PODs is to take the pressure off the hospitals," said Tom Barnes, emergency volunteer management coordinator in Wayne County. "In an emergency, they're going to flood them. That's going to happen, even with the PODs. But this is going to take a lot of pressure off them."

Activities included distributing pharmacological information to residents and maintaining a triage center.

In addition to having trained personnel on hand, outbreaks of disease require communication. Including emergency notification systems, such as uAlert from Omnilert, can be a beneficial part of pandemic preparedness, because sometimes information is the best medicine.

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