- Sun Journal -
PARIS — Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School will be the site of a National Guard riot control drill Thursday morning to prepare in the event of a panic over distribution of serum to treat the swine flu.
The school on Route 26 at the Paris-Norway town line has been designated by state officials as a distribution site for the H1N1 flu vaccine. The drill is to prepare for a worst-case scenario should the serum have to be transported from Augusta and people rush to get it.
On Thursday morning, four or five National Guard Humvees will travel from Augusta to Paris with vials of fake serum. The National Guardsmen will take on the roles of panicked citizens and military police and practice what they would do, such as using tear gas, in the case of a riot.
"This is just a component of moving the stuff from point A to B," said Oxford County Emergency Management Agency Director Scott Parker. The plan will be put into place only if needed, he said.
Plans were developed in April to have vials of serum sent from the federal government to Augusta, Parker said. From Augusta, the supplies will be transported to designated distribution centers.
During the April conference, concerns were raised about a possible out-of-control rush on the serum, Parker said. Because of that concern, Gov. John Baldacci and Gen. John Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, agreed that a plan should be devised to quell such a disturbance.