CHARLESTON – West Virginia officials have completed another successful preparedness exercise, aimed at protecting state employees and ensuring government operations continue during certain emergencies.
Working alongside the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, state officials are developing a new Closed Point of Dispensing (C-POD) so medicine or other assistance can be distributed quickly to government employees and their households. This one is based at the Lottery Building on Charleston’s West Side.
Nearly 50 state employees representing 13 agencies took part in a recent practice exercise, to test how this C-POD would guide employees and provide them the necessary medication. Besides the Lottery, agencies participating included the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the Division of Banking, and the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
“The C-POD concept is a critical element in our Continuation of Government Plan,” said Matthew Brown, security services manager for the Division of Protective Services (Capitol Police). “Exercising the plan raises awareness and with successful exercises like the one at the Lottery Building increases employee confidence that if we need to implement the plan, it will work.”
Part of Military Affairs and Public Safety, the Capitol Police has helped to implement the C-POD concept. All told, the latest C-POD will cover around 600 employees of 18 agencies as well as of the local office for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. C-PODs are currently geared to respond to an anthrax incident, but the model is designed so it can assist with other events including natural disasters.
“The Closed Point of Dispensing model that KCHD and our state partners have worked to develop is one that is easily adapted to other response needs like distributing water or other necessary items state employees might need during emergency situations in Kanawha County,” said Seth Staker, KCHD’s West Virginia Cities Readiness Initiative Coordinator.
“KCHD continues to work with not only our fantastic state partners but other agencies and businesses as well to develop closed POD plans to keep our communities safer.”
Also supporting this initiative is the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at DMAPS; the Center for Threat Preparedness at the Department of Health and Human Resources; the state Office of Technology; Volunteer WV, W.Va. Public Broadcasting, and the Cabinet departments of Administration and Environmental Protection.
KCHD and its state partners launched the first C-POD in 2014 at the Capitol Complex. A second site has since been developed for Kanawha City, and planning is underway for sites in downtown Charleston.