Emergency services personnel prepare for 'zombie attack' drill in Shippensburg

September 22, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — A preparedness drill for emergency services personnel will take a creative spin just days before Halloween, when volunteers in the training exercise don zombie costumes.

“If you are prepared for the zombie attack, you are prepared for anything,” said Dave Donohue, director of the Franklin County (Pa.) Department of Emergency Services.

Organizers of a drill planned for Saturday, Oct. 27, are seeking volunteers of all ages. The drill will simulate inoculating and medicating an infected population.

Real-life applications for the drill concern medicating groups of people infected with ailments such as avian influenza and anthrax. The pill bottles distributed during the drill, however, will contain a less potent substance — M&Ms.

“We’re asking the community to come out zombie or nonzombie,” Donohue said.

The exercise is scheduled from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Shippensburg Fairgrounds. Prizes will be awarded in categories such as best costume, best zombie walk and best zombie wail.

The drill gives crews an opportunity to see how many people they can assist in an hour or 90 minutes, Donohue said.

The Centers for Disease Control has a zombie preparedness campaign designed to address all areas of emergency preparedness with a dose of humor. A training exercise similar to the one planned in Shippensburg was held in June in Martinsburg, W.Va.

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The event is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Southampton Township EMA and Franklin County Department of Emergency Services.

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