Under the guidance of the new Dallas County Emergency Management coordinator, AJ Seely, the Dallas County Health Department recently participated in a “tabletop” emergency exercise. The purpose of this drill was to learn and practice how your Health Department would handle a health-related emergency.

The drill scenario was a local high school student diagnosed with measles. A case of measles isn’t a public health disaster in itself, but the scenario stated that this student had participated with her team at a Veteran’s Auditorium event and gone shopping at the Jordan Creek mall while she was contagious. Her teammates had also been to multiple public locations after being exposed to measles.

Dallas County Health Department staff worked through this exercise, making choices on how to handle a quickly spreading communicable disease in our county. Decisions were made concerning treating currently ill persons, monitoring exposed persons and preventing further spread of the deadly disease among the population.

Emergency preparedness isn’t just floods and tornados. Health-related emergencies potentially kill or permanently disable great numbers of people. Examples are influenza epidemics and the current mysterious disease outbreak that’s leaving young children disabled.

Question for you: How are you reducing the spread of disease?