Editor, The Cheshire Herald:
On June 25, I joined a team of 56 other medical response/health safety volunteers in a safety drill at Cheshire High School, conducted by our Chesprocott Health District. Our team trained with one another for about eight months prior to the drill, with courses and methods to assist residents of Cheshire.
Prospect and Wolcott may also be adversely affected by an epidemic, natural disaster, or an act of terrorism, etc. In fact, the disturbing news this past weekend confirmed that, in reality, acts of terrorism are now unfortunately occurring more frequently in our country.
The drill at the high school was advertised in the local newspapers and at the Town Hall. The simulated scenario went like this: Anthrax had been placed in food sold by a food truck at a town festival and Chesprocott Health District staff members were alerted by the FBI about the incident and they called in their volunteers to set up a treatment station at the Cheshire High School.
All of our volunteers mobilized, per our past training, and were ready for town residents to report so they could learn what might occur in case of a real event. They were “treated” in an orderly, triage-type manner at equipped stations, per their symptoms, with the appropriate medication administered by our medical and mental health staff members, while being surrounded by safety officers. During the drill, Cheshire’s Fire Marshall John Andrews and Police Sergeant Brian Schecter (accompanied by Officer Dave Maliar) were also present, along with our most capable Director of Chesprocott, Maura Esposito. They all strive and work diligently to keep our community safe.
One of the main reasons I wrote this letter is that, other than our Chamber of Commerce President, Yetta Augur, the turnout was low. Perhaps people did not see the article in the newspapers or were unaware of this very important drill.
Consequently, I strongly suggest that when we have another such drill (or real event) it would be beneficial for Police Chief Neil Dryfe to call town residents and/or institute a color code system, such as a code “white” used at the prisons where I worked, to augment his present protocol for means of communication. His role would be to alert residents so they would know where to report and what to expect. Citizens could then become more prepared, educated, and calm, knowing that capable staff and medical necessities will be provided. I believe that town safety and security measures to address issues in case of emergencies are critical, since our very lives are at stake.
Thank you for your consideration and attention to this request.