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Walnut Grove Practices Pandemic Flu Exercise

Walnut Grove High School hosted a public health emergency exercise on Thursday afternoon. Springfield Greene-County Health Department and the Walnut Grove School Districts tested a plan to dispense medication to community members in a public health emergency. KSMU's Emily Nash went to Walnut Grove High School for the exercise and has this report.

Matt Sackett is a junior at Walnut Grove High School.

But on Thursday, Matt was a 79 year old man with a 101.2 fever needing medication during a mock flu pandemic.

Matt and 130 other Walnut Grove high school and middle school students participated in a public health emergency exercise Thursday afternoon.

Students played the role of patients receiving treatment from community health volunteers during a mock influenza pandemic.

J.D. Slaughter is the environmental planner for the Springfield Greene County Health Department.

During orientation, students were given role playing cards indicating the age, personality, and health symptoms of the patients they were to portray for the exercise.

Students lined up outside the high school and were sorted according to symptoms on their role cards.

Molly Holtmann is the Pandemic Health Planner for Springfield Greene County Health Department.

It only took 15 minutes for each patient to be dispensed medication during the test run.

Slaughter says, since the ice storm last winter, the Greene County Health Department has been trying to prepare for long term medical emergencies.

Holtmann says the exercise at Walnut Grove shows the community is taking steps to prepare for medical disasters.

She says, community members can print off a pandemic emergency check list at the Center for Disease Control web site at

The list has tips on how to prepare for medical emergencies like pandemic influenza.