Mock-clinic helps Boone County prepare for public health emergen - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Mock-clinic helps Boone County prepare for public health emergencies

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BELVIDERE (WREX) -

Emergency situations can happen at any moment, and Boone County says it's doing its part to be ready.

On Saturday, the Boone County Health Department, along with volunteer first-responders - and even actors - put on a mock-clinic.

The scenario is a serious threat, whether it's a bioterrorism outbreak of substances like anthrax, or medical epidemics like Ebola - and Zika, a disease that continues to capture the world's attention.

"We said here's the plan, you have an hour to put this together, we want to open the doors in an hour," said Ellen Genrich, the Emergency Response Coordinator for the Boone County Health Department.

Organizers say the goal is practice now - to protect later.

"You don't just write a plan and set it on the shelf and never exercise it, because if you do that you're planning to fail," Genrich said.

A group of volunteers goes through the drill, which shows what it would be like to disperse medication to the masses.

The next step - evaluating how things went, and identifying strengths and weaknesses.

"We definitely during this exercise saw that we had a couple gaps in our plan, and that's what we expected," said Genrich.

"They pointed out what went wrong themselves which is the best thing for the exercises," said Dan Reilly, owner of Resilience International Consultants, a company based out of Rockford that was hired to plan and execute the exercise. "It actually went very well, and the ultimate success is this would've worked."

But it doesn't end there -- organizers say prep work is always ongoing for any type of emergency.

"We'll do some site-specific plans for a lockdown. We have those plans for security, we did not have those plans for a lockdown for an active shooter, for instance," Genrich said.

Whether it's a mock drill or a mass emergency, organizers say communication is key to keep people safe.

The Boone County Health Department says Saturday's volunteers and emergency responders would be the same people it would call for help in the event of a real outbreak.

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