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Maricopa County prepares for possible pandemic just to be safe

Mock drill set up to gauge response times in the event of a health emergency.

While a lot of national attention has been on gun violence on campuses, one Phoenix-area school is leading the country in health safety.

Basha High School was the site for a test emergency operation to check response times during a large-scale health crisis. Dozens of volunteers came out to set up a point of dispensary (POD). It's all to ensure the safety and health of community members.

Maricopa County Public Health Director Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine says drills like this will help the volunteers be prepared, which is crucial to public safety.

“The goal is to deliver these life-saving medications to all 4 million Maricopa County residents within 48 hours,” she said. “If there is some type of emergency, the federal government has something called the strategic national stockpile and it can get here in 12 hours.”

She says multiple organizations make this medical practice possible in the event of a pandemic, like anthrax or a severe flu season.

Event coordinators like Marcus Castle strategically plans how the public will filter through more than 100 sites like Basha to get the treatment they need.

“Rather than make people stop and walk out and walk in, especially in the heat of Arizona summertime, we'd rather have people stay in the confines of their car,” Castle said.

The drive-thru style simulation allows residents to do a brief screening with questions like family size, ages and symptoms before they're given medication.

Organizers say, these drills are vital when it comes to keeping the public safe during a dangerous health crisis.