NW Alabama First Responders Get Training In Treating Mass Outbreaks

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s a scenario that no one wants to see play out; a biological or chemical attack in the valley that effects a mass number of residents here.

Whether it happens here or not, emergency responders must prepare accordingly, and some of that training began today.

Minutes count in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, and responders said time is especially crucial if a biological or chemical agent is involved.

“We try to identify every potential disaster or agent that could be used in a terrorist attack and plan accordingly,” explained Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Elizabeth Foster with the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Foster said the classroom work serves as a catalyst to get everyone on the same page.

It’s giving law enforcement, emergency management officials and other first responders the ability to set up receiving and distribution centers in northwest Alabama to get medical and medicine needs to mass numbers of residents.

“We have less than 48-hours to make sure everything is up and running in order to properly profilax the population,” stated Foster.

According to Foster, the particular plan being given out to region-one responders on Thursday had been under development for nearly five years.

And they all hope it will never have to be used.

Colbert County will serve as a distribution hub for the Alabama Department of Public Health for six counties in northwest Alabama.

Classroom and hands on training sessions like the one on Thursday will be held periodically to continue developing ideas and adjusting response actions.