Volunteers needed for public health drill at WUSTL

Washington University in St. Louis’ Department of Environmental Health & Safety is asking for WUSTL faculty, staff and student volunteers to participate in a Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) drill March 18.

The purpose of the drill is to ensure that the St. Louis County Department of Health has the capability to get life-saving drugs to the Washington University population in a public health crisis, such as a flu epidemic, bioterrorism attack or meningitis outbreak.

Up to 700 volunteers are needed to both pose as caregivers and patients during the exercise, which will take place in the Gargoyle in the Mallinckrodt Student Center from noon-4 p.m. To sign up, visit communityservice.wustl.edu/publichealthdrill.

Volunteers to be patients can sign up for up to four one-hour time slots, beginning at noon. Shifts may take one to two hours. Caregivers can sign up in three shifts, starting at 11 a.m., and may be asked to attend a voluntary training session. All volunteers are asked to bring their WUSTL IDs.

Those volunteering to serve as patients and caregivers will be entered into three drawings for an iPod Shuffle, Creative Zen V Plus digital player or a SanDisk Sansa Clip digital player.

“The university’s participation in this drill helps us ensure that the WUSTL campus is prepared for a public health emergency situation,” said Mark Bagby, university disaster coordinator. “We are appreciative of those in the campus community willing to assist us in keeping the campus a safe place for all to work, study and live.”

To ensure that St. Louis County and Washington University is prepared to serve the needs of the campus, those acting as patients will be asked to role-play as they travel through the medication-dispensing process. Upon entering the Gargoyle, volunteers will be given a card that presents them with a fictitious “patient.” The card lists an age, symptoms, medical background and other information.

The university is collaborating with the St. Louis County Department of Health in holding the WUSTL SNS drill. Other SNS drills will be held that day in the city of St. Louis and St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties.

The purpose of the SNS program, established by the federal government in partnership with state and local governments, is to collect and distribute medicine and medical supplies to the American public in a public health emergency.

For more information or to sign up, visit communityservice.wustl.edu/publichealthdrill.