Two grant-funded trailers enable county to emergency training, public health

MADELINE SHANNON/Newport News-Times | Lincoln County Emergency Services Manager, Jenny Demaris, front, talks to a crowd of county commissioners and other county officials about a public health trailer and emergency services training trailer. Both trailers were paid for by grants, one from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and one from the Oregon Health Authority.

LINCOLN COUNTY –– A crowd gathered around the two trailers parked outside the Lincoln County Circuit Court, with curious county officials walking in and out of the trailers, examining the emergency supplies stored inside.

“We have small CERT chapters that don’t have all the resources they need to do the full training continuum,” said county emergency services manager Jenny Demaris. “The thought was that if we had a mobile trailer with all the supplies, including the laptop, everything they needed to be able to host those training sessions, they wouldn’t have to beg, borrow from other agencies or try to fit it together.”

The trailers, one for emergency services and the other for public health, fulfill two functions many in the county need –– a place to store and transport emergency training materials and a place to keep and move medical supplies.

“I think these trailers are fantastic,” said Casey Miller, public information officer for the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. “I think that readiness is a big piece.”

Consolidating the resources of the county’s emergency services and public health needs is important, Miller said, and makes it easier to transport resources to locations where they’re most needed.

“It makes it easier to store it, pack it and move it,” Miller said. “That takes time, and sometimes time is money. This ultimately saves on staff time.”

A $16,055 grant that came to the county this year from the Oregon Health Authority’s Healthcare Preparedness Program paid for the public health trailer. An additional grant in the amount of $13,295 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security paid for the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training materials. The county already owned that trailer.

So far, the trailers have been used for CERT volunteer trainings and immunization clinics, respectively. County public health officials also use the public health trailer, called the “point-of-dispensing,” or POD trailer, to respond to outbreaks, as well.

The CERT trailer is stocked with nurses boxes, AUD and first aid kits, as well as a bariatric cot, foldable cots, bariatric wheelchair and “Rescue Randy,” a full-sized 125-pound mannequin.

“For them to borrow from the fire district is very challenging,” Demaris said. “So we bought a cart to keep Rescue Randy on to prevent injuries to the volunteers and their trainers.”

The supplies on the POD trailer allow medical staff to set up six separate stations for vaccinations, exams and to otherwise address medical needs.

The POD trailer also allows medical staff to do what Demaris called “drive-by” clinics, in which nurses vaccinate people while they’re sitting in their cars.

“People just literally shoot their arms in the car and out they go,” she said.

The two current trailers are not the only trailers the county plans on utilizing, Demaris said. The longtime emergency services manager and candidate for county commissioner is planning a new trailer sometime next year.

“We really needed a lot of supplies to put in the trailer,” Demaris said. “But since we put everything in the trailer, the trailer’s not big enough.”

Thanks to other grant money Demaris found through Oregon Health Authority, a bigger trailer is coming the county’s way soon. This one holds all the supplies needed for events like immunization clinics.

“It’ll accommodate everything that’s actually in there,” Demaris said.

Volunteers, Demaris said, did the physical labor building the trailers and buying the supplies. At least one of the trailers is part of a pilot program overseen by the Oregon Health Authority. Lincoln County is one of two counties in Oregon in that program, county officials said.

“We could actually do about 150 patients without being resupplied at all,” Demaris said. “We also were granted a specific refrigerator-cooler which is actually being used today for a flu clinic, that lives in the trailer so we have a refrigerator ready to go.”

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