CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Local, state and federal agencies are training how to handle an anthrax outbreak or other public health emergency in Wyoming.

During an exercise on Saturday in Cheyenne and Casper, the agencies learned how to deal with people who are scared and how they can help them.

Gus Lopez, director of the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department, said the simulations in his district required about 120 volunteers.

“It’s huge. That’s why we’re preparing to be ready in any kind of emergency, not only in Laramie County,” Lopez said.

The agencies have to learn how to bring order to chaos during an emergency.

Wendy Braund, state health officer and Public Health Division administrator for the Wyoming Department of Health, said it requires preparation and training.

“As you can imagine, (there is) a high level of anxiety of folks concerned that they would be getting sick and potentially dying from an infectious agent. And so you can’t necessarily count on people to act right when they’re worried, you know, and that’s just human nature,” she said.

Braund said the organizations hold a similar large-scale simulation every five years.

The multiple organizations involved in the simulation will try to improve emergency response procedures based on what officials learned from this exercise, she said.

“We have to do exercises like this to make sure we’re prepared and to learn from exercises, so that we know what to do better next time,” Braund said.


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com