Yankton students protect their health while helping the county - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Yankton students protect their health while helping the county

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YANKTON, SD (KTIV) -

Cooler days are a sign that flu season is on its way. Siouxland authorities used Wednesday as an opportunity to help vaccinate students, while preparing for an emergency situation.

Yankton, South Dakota High School students braved the needle to prevent the flu and help the county prepare for a possible pandemic disease outbreak.

"It's important because we want to get the drill down, get all the organization figured out, so all volunteers and staff that come to do the clinics like this, we have it practiced and we'll be ready in case something like that would happen," Nikki Boyle, Mount Marty College Nursing Student said.

"It really gives us an opportunity to come in to play with all of our training as far as through FEMA and the incident command structure that's required of us," Yankton Police Chief Brian Paulsen said.

Although, the event is considered a full scale exercise approved by the state, Police Chief Paulsen says it would be quite different if hundreds of people contracted a virus.

"If we were looking at 400, 600, 800, even a much larger scale, we would be pushing folks through, at that rate, we would have to expand the staff that we have here. This is a very controlled environment. We're making some changes as we go," Paulsen said.

"If this was an actual event where they needed to have something set up like this I think it would be a little more chaotic," Yankton High School Senior Andrew Larson said.

Paulsen agrees.

"Right now, it's just kind of to work out some of the bugs, so if we were to have a real life incident, we would be prepared with very little barricades," Paulsen said.

Along with helping Yankton County prepare for disasters, some say it makes their lives a lot easier rolling up their sleeves for a flu shot while they're in school.

"It makes us come and we don't have to make a separate trip to the doctor," said Madason Tessier, Yankton High School Freshman.

Around 270 students got vaccinated for free. The shots were paid for by the South Dakota Department of Health.

Yankton Police Chief Brian Paulsen says an evaluator will provide an assessment for how everything went. He expects to receive this report in about a month.

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