Doctors, pharmacists and emergency workers from throughout the Augusta area met in Columbia County on Tuesday to discuss how they would respond to a biological or chemical attack.
Among the greatest needs that arose was that of better communication.
''We need to take down county lines and hospital names and be one," said Pam Tucker, Columbia County's emergency services director.
The meeting, which took place at the Evans Government Center, attracted more than 50 public health and emergency officials.
Talks ranged from Tucker offering her county's 13 shelters to local hospital workers to doctors urging restraint among officials in over-diagnosing possible anthrax cases during the upcoming flu season.
''I think some people learned something today," said Dr. Frank Rumph, district director of the state Public Health Department. ''We're going to have to develop or at least improve a new line of contact - one of a suspicious case and not just after the final diagnosis."
Dr. Richard Eckert, medical director of the emergency room at University Hospital, added, ''We've got some awful good coordination now. But we still need to tweak things. That's where all these drills are good."
Tucker said a first step to an overall plan has already been started with the distribution of a survey to all Augusta hospitals to determine what supplies they have available.
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