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'Zombies' help train emergency personnel

Updated: Friday, October 25 2013, 10:13 PM CDT
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

MONT ALTO -- You could hear the screeches of zombies coming from Penn State’s Mont Alto campus on Friday afternoon and emergency officials were okay with it.

It was all part of training to make the public safer.

Franklin County Emergency Services hosted a “Zombie Attack” on Friday night inviting the community to join them as they used the haunted creatures as a drill for medical distribution.

“If there was a big outbreak of anthrax, you’d use a POD,” explained Meghan O’Brien of Franklin County’s Emergency Services. 

If an outbreak of influenza or a dangerous illness would be spread, the county’s emergency services would set up stations throughout the area as a point of distribution, passing along vaccines or medicines to those who need it. 

However in the spirit of Halloween and to entice public involvement, officials asked volunteers to dress up as zombies. From there, they would be screened for allergies and other important personal information to qualify for them for the vaccine they need.

“We need to test our plans,” said Robert Kabata of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health.  “We always have to run exercises on our plans.”

In Friday night’s scenario, zombies were at the point of no return. However, volunteers who did not dress up were taken for further examining. Those involved in the drill moved them to different stations to best serve their needs.

“Hopefully we never have to use it but it’s always good to go through the motions in case we do,” said O’Brien.

The drill was a success. Officials said they try to do it as often as they can.

According to Kabata, the most recent use of a point of distribution center in the area was back in 2009 during the H1N1 flu pandemic. 

'Zombies' help train emergency personnel

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