Lander University will be the location of a disaster drill testing the emergency response capabilities of the university and the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The drill is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10, from 3:45 to 6 p.m.
Rodney Boyter, Lander’s director of safety, said the disaster simulation will center on the release of a biologic agent on campus. The drill is part of the Cities Readiness Initiative of the Federal Centers for Disease Control, which responds by dispensing antidotes and antibiotics to a metropolitan area that has been subjected to a bioterrorist attack.
Lander’s university-based Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the only one of its type in South Carolina, will play a leading role in the drill. MRCs are a network of community-based units whose goal is to supplement existing local public health resources by organizing and utilizing medical and nonmedical volunteers to increase awareness and preparedness for community disasters. Lander’s Campus Emergency Response Team will also participate.
Joanne Whatley, volunteer coordinator for DHEC Region One, said the involvement of Lander and the university’s MRC makes the drill a unique event. “This will allow us to test the operations plan for disasters and other similar events at a higher level.”
She added that this will be the first test of what is called a closed Point of Dispensing (POD), plan which is a model for the clinical distribution of medications from a strategic national stockpile very quickly.
Boyter said a command center for emergency operating staff will be established in Lander’s Horne Arena with the simulated casualties being cared for in an auxiliary gymnasium in the Physical Education and Exercise Science department. Lander has asked students, faculty and staff to act as casualties and submit to the medical treatment part of the drill.