News from District 2

Indiana Epidemiology Newsletter
September 2007

Mona Wenger, MS
Field Epidemiologist District 2

District 2 recently conducted a tabletop exercise during their July meeting at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth. The facilitators for this particular exercise were the Emergency Management Agent, St. Joseph County; and the Local Public Health Coordinator, Marshall County Health Department. The exercise scenario involved an imaginary town within the District and some protesters of the annual local festival.

There were 41 participants in the exercise consisting of the following agencies: local and state law enforcement; the public health nurses and public health coordinators from the local health departments; Emergency Medical Services; Emergency Management Agency; the Red Cross; the local fire departments; the local hospitals (emergency preparedness personnel and the infection control practitioners); the liaison from the office of Senator Joe Donnelly; the ISDH field staff: hospital liaison, epidemiologist, public information officer, and veterinarian; and the IDEM field emergency responder.

The exercise consisted of 5 modules, beginning with the initial preparation for the protesters 10 months prior to the festival and ending with the explosion of a festival food vendor’s propane tank. The exercise took approximately 2.5 hours to complete.

Lessons learned included: 1) the need for more District tabletops (this was considered a positive use of District time), 2) all tabletops need not start from the beginning of an event but could continue with another level of the exercise to incorporate more role-playing time for each agency, 3) many participants did not know who to include in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or who should establish the EOC, and 4) possible participants in future exercises: pharmacists, animal control, and a mortuary team/coroner/state demort team.

While the exercise was not a grant requirement, it was determined to be a positive use of District time.