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Training Exercise Will Prepare Arlington for Bioterror, Pandemics and Zombies

Arlington Medical Reserve CorpsArlington County will conduct a training exercise this week that will test its ability to respond to biological emergencies.

The exercise will simulate the door-to-door delivery of medication in the event of bioterrorism or a natural pandemic. On Thursday, April 25, some 50 volunteers will deliver small bags to the doorknobs of residents at the Gates of Ballston and River Place West apartment complexes, and in the Aurora Highlands and Ballston/Virginia Square neighborhoods.

“The bag will contain emergency preparedness information and other contents designed to simulate the weight and bulk of the actual medication that may be delivered in an emergency,” said Kurt Larrick, communications manager for the Arlington County Department of Human Services.

He continued: “The purpose of the exercise is to enhance the County’s ability to respond in an emergency by understanding how long it might take to reach all doorknobs in Arlington, should the need arise to give out antibiotic medicine and provide important information in a public health emergency where timely delivery to the population is essential.”

Larrick was asked: could the door-to-door delivery of medication also help in the theoretical scenario of a zombie apocalypse?

“We take an ‘all hazards’ approach to our emergency preparedness and response, so I am confident in our ability to respond quickly and effectively to any scenario, including zombies,” Larrick told ARLnow.com.

Before the distribution exercise on Thursday, about 25 volunteers will gather at the Arlington Trades Center (2700 S. Taylor Street) on Tuesday to help assemble the materials that will be used in the exercise.

In the event of a real medical emergency, the county will have the option of delivering medication door-to-door, or setting up a number of “PODs” — or Points of Dispensing — in the community. While delivering door-to-door to Arlington’s 100,000 households sounds daunting, the county has access to more than 300 Medical Reserve Corps volunteers and 3,500 county staffers to do the job.

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