Navy Capt. Richard Fite, National War College faculty member, receives a bag containing bottles representing medicine during an emergency management exercise on the Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

On March 28, the Department of Homeland Security, through the Cities Readiness Initiative conducted its annual Closed Point of Dispensing Standard Operating exercise around the District of Columbia metropolitan area. A CPOD-SOG is a practice training exercise used to prepare service members and their Families in the event of a biological attack. The Fort McNair portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall hosted their main CPOD-SOG exercise in southwest D.C.

Some of the main aspects covered in the exercise were maintaining a safe, calm environment while trying to portray a surreal after-biological attack environment. Exercise participants waited for bottles representing medications such as Doxycycline and Ciprofloxacin, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent anthrax and infections. Volunteers were escorted through numerous stations to ensure the proper dosage and medication was distributed.

"This is a great training exercise, this can give us an idea of what to expect in a real-life situation," said Enoch Sarbeng, resources service specialist at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The first station upon arrival to the CPOD-SOG exercise was the greeting and forms distribution table. At this location, clients were asked to fill out surveys pertaining to their current health, also filling out sign in sheets so they could receive the correct amount of medicine per Family. Clients then proceeded to the screening station, where their information was reviewed for accuracy.

Anyone who may have come to the center with children, expecting a child, or suffer from allergies received different doses of medication. The final stage of the exercise was the medicine dispersing station where all clients were given bottles of medication depending on their medical status.

While the main staging was taking place throughout the base, a mobile command vehicle was located in the surrounding area to ensure the proper information would be dispatched by teams in a timely manner. This included providing a timeline of events, distribution of medicine and the possibility of additional attacks.

"We have representation for the officer in charge, also from MEDAC (medical activity). We are the traffic light between all stations," said Lt. Stacey Wilson, watch commander for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

Volunteers from the medical reserve corps assisted with the exercise. Some volunteers portrayed Families or military members tood in line to receive their medication.

"I think that the entire operation went very smoothly; the CDC (Center for Disease Control) participants were very helpful. We are on our way to preparing for an event if something should happen," said Lt. Col. Carol Moss, Human Resources director at the National Defense University.

The DHS continues training throughout the D.C. metropolitan area and throughout the country daily to prevent harm and keep Americans aware of the possibility of a real life threatening situation.

Page last updated Fri March 30th, 2012 at 00:00