Knox Co. Health Dept. to test preparedness system, needs volunteers

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- “This is only a drill.” Not words you expect to hear from the Health Department, but after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, health departments across the United States have taken on the additional role of public health emergency planning to protect public health in the event of a large scale or community-wide incident. On Monday, June 30, the Knox County Health Department will test a disaster preparedness system that is new to Tennessee. Public Health officials will be practicing a drive-through “Point of Dispensing” system, or POD, which is the procedure they would use for mass dispensing of vaccines, medications or equipment during a community-wide emergency. The process will be similar in concept to a fast food take-out window. It's never been done in our state.

“As part of Homeland Security, Knox County Health Department is responsible for being ready and able to dispense these essentials quickly to large numbers of people if such an emergency occurs,” said KCHD Director Mark Jones.

In order to realistically challenge KCHD professionals, the goal is to process 500 cars and 1500 people in two hours. KCHD will establish the drive-through POD at Karns High School (directions below) for the two-hour drill from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. Beginning at 1 p.m., volunteers are needed to drive through the POD.

Public participation is critical to the success of this event and there are incentives to encourage participation. The first 500 participants will get a coupon for a free ICEE. Everyone who drives through gets entered into a drawing to win a $250 Pilot gas card, courtesy of Pilot Oil Company. Every 100th car will win a $50 Pilot gas card.

Information can be found at or by calling 215-5534.

Directions to Karns High School, 2710 Byington Solway Road, Knoxville, 37931:

Take Pellissippi Parkway/Hwy 162 North to the Hardin Valley exit. Turn onto Hardin Valley Road heading east. Turn left on to Westcott Boulevard. Turn left on to Byington Solway Road. The entrance to the drill site is on your right. Look for the signs.

(Information submitted by the Knox County Health Department.)

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