Anti-Terror Exercise Coming

by Press Release-Burlington County | Feb 4, 2005
Anti-Terror Exercise Coming Burlington County College in Pemberton will be the testing ground during a counterterrorism exercise on April 7th to gauge the County’s ability to set up a mass clinic to administer medications to thousands of residents in the event of an act of terrorism that would involve biological or chemical agents.

The Freeholders were briefed about the planned simulation by the County’s Public Health Officer Robert Gogats during today’s meeting that outlined the responsibilities and challenges in front of the Health Department and various other state, county and local agencies involved in Topoff 3.

“Being prepared is an essential part of winning the war on terror,’’ Freeholder Director James K. Wujcik said. “We feel fortunate that New Jersey is one of just two states participating in this exercise, and that Burlington County will play a vital role.

“The County Office of Emergency Management, our Health Department and all the departments that will be enlisted to participate will demonstrate how to implement a mass clinic to best protect the general population in an emergency,’’ he continued. “This ‘real’ simulation also will give us an opportunity to determine where and how we can improve the Plan.’’

The goal of the Point Of Dispensing (POD) Plan is providing prophylaxis to the entire population of Burlington County (440,000) in four days.

For the April 7th exercise, the mass clinic will operate from 4-9 p.m. with expectations to provide “medications’’ to 500 people per hour for three hours.

Topoff is a series of emergency response exercises mandated by Congress and managed by the Department of Homeland Security. It is designed to bring together international, federal, state and local agencies to test their ability to work together to respond to acts of terrorism.

Among the challenges Gogats cited in his presentation to the Freeholders was the large number of volunteers required from the public sector to agree to be part of the exercise.

County residents willing to volunteer for the exercise should call 609-265-5468.

The County received a $20,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security through the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services for the exercise, which was mandated by Congress.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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