From staff reports

First responders and medical personnel were hard at work Friday at Longview High School’s Lobo Coliseum, but it wasn’t a real emergency.

The drill provided training on how medication would be distributed in the event of a disaster — in this case, an anthrax outbreak in the area, said Fred Killingsworth, executive assistant at the Gregg County Health Department.

He said Friday’s drill included more than 100 “patients” along with more than 20 nursing students from the University of Texas at Tyler Longview University Center.

Killingsworth said such drills are held annually, and past training has been held in conjunction with Pine Tree, Spring Hill and White Oak ISDs. He said Sabine ISD likely will be involved in next year’s drill.

The practice patients were taken by ambulance to Longview Regional Medical Center, where the training shifted to treatment, such as their reaction to the anthrax medication.

Killingsworth said drills such as Friday’s are beneficial because it’s “training for everybody,” from the fire department to medical personnel.

“Nursing students learn how to deal with a mass amount of people,” he said. “The ER gets training on people flooding (in) with the same type of symptoms.”

Gregg County has eight point of distribution sites that would be used to pass out medication in the event of a wide-scale emergency.