—submitted by Betty Boccella, Central Iowa RSVP

What if…..? What if there were a major flu outbreak in Story County and thousands of residents needed to receive the appropriate vaccination or medication for it? How could that possibly be accomplished? What if a major tornado passed through Story City and hundreds of residents needed tetanus shots? What would happen in a significant public health emergency such as this?

The answers to these questions have been carefully studied and planned for by Story County’s Public Health Agency, HOMEWARD. Many hours of study, research, writing, and discussion have taken place to ensure that Story County is prepared for such an emergency. Therefore, in the event of a public health emergency affecting the entire county, there are four locations that would be set up as "Points of Dispensing" or "PODs" in Story City, Ames, Huxley, and Nevada. In Story City the planned location of the POD is the Story City Recreation Center at 826 Elm Avenue.

It will require hundreds of volunteers to effectively maintain these PODS for multiple days. Central Iowa RSVP is the designated Volunteer Management Agency, working directly with HOMEWARD to identify, recruit, register and help train volunteers for PODs. Medical volunteers will be needed to provide triage, screening, health assessments, and administration of antibiotics or vaccine. Non-medical volunteers will be needed to assist with registration, traffic control, running supplies, acting as personal escorts for people who need assistance through the process, data entry, etc.

Consider becoming a POD volunteer, medical or non-medical. With your assistance, preventative medical treatment will be provided for your family, friends, and neighbors in the most efficient manner possible during a public health emergency. Training will be provided in Story City on Thursday, December 12th, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Story City Community Center/Senior Center, 503 Elm Avenue. The training is free, but pre-registration is required. To register call the Story City RSVP office at 733-4917. There will also be an exercise/drill in the months to come in which all volunteers will be expected to participate. Remember, it is not "if" we need to plan for a public health emergency, but "when" we will need to activate the plan!