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Prepping For Pandemic, Biohazards And Terrorism

Anh Gray

In a state of emergency, first responders and doctors are the ones on the scene to provide help. Earlier this week, the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center held a drill to train providers for a potential crisis. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray has the details.

In this particular drill, the Tribal Health Center simulated a flu pandemic. Stacey Montooth with the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony says this training helps providers prepare for variety of emergencies.

“It could be small pox, it could be flu, it could be any kind of a virus, God forbid some kind of a biohazard, something related to terrorism that’s intentional," Montooh says. "If any of those outlandish scenarios were to take place, then the Washoe County Health District would call a state of emergency.”

The Tribal Health Center is one of several facilities designated to help in a state of emergency.

Credit Anh Gray
Officials with the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center brief media about the drill.

Trooper Duncan Dauber with the Nevada Highway Patrol also assisted with the drill.

“We are transportation, a major part of assisting these supplies, to make sure  they get to where they need to go as quickly and as safely as possible,” Dauber says.

For the exercise, Dauber oversaw the delivery of hundreds of the flu shots, which were actually given to participating patients.  

Tanya Hernandez lives at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and received an emergency alert system message about the drill. She says she’s glad the center is a site that all people, including non-Natives, can go to during a state of emergency.

“It’s for the community and that’s as it should be here," Hernandez explains, "we want everybody to feel comfortable coming here.”

The Tribal Health Center has the capacity to vaccinate about 150 people per hour in the event of an outbreak. 

Anh is a contributing editor for the KUNR news team and has been with the station since 2014. She is an alumna of the Boston University School of Public Health and Teachers College, Columbia University.