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Event begins Tuesday and continues through Thursday at sites around the county

Yamhill County Emergency Management, in conjunction with Yamhill County Public Health, began Tuesday conducting a full-scale emergency preparedness exercise at sites around the county. The exercise will continue through Thursday.

The two county agencies are being joined in the effort by the Oregon Health Authority and the federal Centers for Disease Control in testing "the dispensing of medications following an intentional release of a biologic agent," according to a April 25 release.

"This exercise focuses on establishing and staffing a department operations center by (county) public health staff; resource ordering and logistics with state level partners and the setting up and operations of public points of dispensing," the release said.

The exercise is part of ongoing efforts to establish best practices, improve the county's emergency preparedness posture and its responses to large-scale emergency events like floods, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, tropical storms and the like.

Numerous locations within the cities of Newberg and McMinnville, as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, will play host to the exercise, the release said.

Agencies participating include the Newberg School District and George Fox University, as well as the public works and public health departments at the county, the city of McMinnville, Willamette Valley Medical Center, Chemeketa Community College, Yamhill County Action Partnership, nursing students from Oregon Health and Sciences University's Monmouth program and others.

Assisting in the effort are the county's Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Medical Reserve Corps, the American Red Cross and others.

"These volunteer groups represent just a few of many … who play an active and vital role in community preparedness as well as emergency response within the county," the release said. "As in an actual emergency event, many of the county's departments play critical roles in staffing the county emergency operations center with personnel trained in the essential skills to successfully track response efforts, order resources outside of the county capacity and work with the Board of Commissioners to establish response objectives, execute public notification and lead recovery efforts.

"This exercise is designed to use a realistic scenario to allow the multiple agencies to practice the vital cooperation of responding to community needs outside the day-to-day routines and expectations.  From this effort, the participating agencies will strengthen and improve its community preparedness posture."

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