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OEM Press Release: OEM Holds Trial Point-of-Dispensing Drill (TRIPOD)

Release 02-013
May 22, 2002      


Drill for Distribution of Medication In the Event a Biological Attack Had Been Scheduled for September 12, 2001

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today held the first-ever Trial Point of Dispensing drill—also known as “Operation TriPOD”—to test OEM’s effectiveness in responding to a biological attack.  TriPOD is a six-hour, real-time drill administered by OEM, in cooperation with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ), the Weill Medical College of Cornell Medical Center, the New York City Department of Health (DOH), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), along with the American Red Cross of Greater New York.

TriPOD had originally been scheduled to take place on September 12th, 2001, at Pier 92—which ironically had served as the temporary home of OEM shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. 

“The setting for our first-ever TriPOD drill will should serve as a poignant reminder of the importance of preparedness,” said John T. Odermatt, Commissioner of OEM.  “Today, we find ourselves in the same place where the City regrouped following 9/11.   Since that fateful day, New York has returned to normal, and we now use this venue not in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, but rather to prepare for one.”

USDOJ Assistant Attorney General Deborah J. Daniels said, "The Office of Justice Programs, through its Office for Domestic Preparedness, is pleased to support the New York City TriPOD Exercise.  We look forward to strengthening our partnership with the City of New York, through continued strong support of its domestic preparedness activities."

DOH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden said, " As demonstrated by the anthrax events last fall, any response to a biological attack requires a large scale, multi-agency effort.  The TriPOD drill will reinforce the City's preparedness by bringing together the public health community with first responders and law enforcement officials."

TriPOD will take place on Wednesday, May 22nd, at Pier 92 on Manhattan’s West Side.  POD staff, comprising members of OEM, the Department of Health (DOH), the Fire Department (FDNY), and the Police Department (NYPD), will supervise the processing of over 600 volunteers, whom along with cadets from the Police and Fire Department Academies, will take on the role of members of the affected population during this drill. 

These “patients” will simulate the ill effects of a biological attack, and will be sent through the POD (point-of-dispensing) process as they would be during the aftermath of an actual attack.  The first stage for all “patients” will be griage—a combination of greeting and triage—during which they’ll be evaluated purely on superficial conditions, e.g. “This patient appears to be ill.” 

Those “patients” then move on to triage, where they will be asked basic questions about their condition. From that group, some will go on to medical evaluation, then medication dispensing, as deemed necessary. 

One of the aims of the exercise will be to process approximately 1,000 “patients” per hour.  The results of TriPOD will be evaluated for its effectiveness in providing medication and basic information for the threatened community, as well as for its ability to direct asymptomatic victims away from hospitals, in the hopes of reserving these critical facilities for the severely ill.

City officials will also study the feasibility of applying the TriPOD model to other large-scale hazards that could affect the City, and for establishing TriPOD as the basis for point-of-dispensing models nationwide.


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