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Bio-Terror Drills (2012)

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: The following bio-terror drills occurred within the calendar year of 2012. The fact that these bio-terror drills exist in mass confirms that an upcoming bio-terror attack is in the cards and may be played in a last ditch effort to regain political, economic and militarial control of society. Since 9/11, bio-terror drills have become the norm in America but have recently started becoming a weekly occurrence since February of 2011.

A Few Pertinent Questions:

1. When will the "bio-terror drills" go live?
2. How will police, military and the American people know the difference between "real world" bio-terror and "drilled" bio-terror?
3. Will the video footage of bio-terror drills be used by the government or media for pandemic propaganda purposes at a later date?

Resounding Bio-Terror Drill Themes:

1. A bio-terror attack and subsequent pandemic is not a matter of "if", but "when".
2. Synchronicity and coordination of ALL local, county, state and federal government emergency agencies is being repeatedly drilled by DHS and FEMA in congruence with COG (Continuity of Government) /
Martial Law plans.

Title: Kansas Holds Bioattack Drill
Date:
January 11, 2012
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: Johnson County, Kansas, recently held a drill designed to test its ability to dispense medical countermeasures in the event of biological emergency.

The public health emergency preparedness plan is in place to organize the handing out of medicines if there is ever an outbreak of anthrax, plague or tularemia, whether it is a naturally occurring event or an intentional release, according to Fox4KC.com.

Public health officials said that the most difficult role the public has to play is filling out the proper form. The rest of the procedure takes only 45 seconds.

“If they go online, fill out their form and bring it in, it’ll decrease the time it’s going to take for them to go through the whole dispensing process and speed it up,” Nancy Tausz of Johnson County Public Health said, Fox4KC.com reports.

Johnson County Health said that it is prepared to dispense countermeasures to the entire population of the county within 48 hours.

During an event, the head of a household can pick up prophylactic medications for their entire family at open dispensing sites or neighborhood dispensing centers.

Additional sites may be set up depending on the nature of the emergency and the target population. Only asymptomatic persons are to receive the medication. Those showing symptoms are to be taken to treatment centers, according to Health.JoCoGov.org (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: National Guard Takes Part In WMD Preparedness Drill
Date: January 20, 2012
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: The National Guard’s 48th Civil Support Team took part in a terrorism training drill aboard the U.S.S. Victory in Florida on Thursday to protect against future incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.

The 22 member 48th CST, which was created in February 2010 and certified in November, is trained to detect weapons of mass destruction ranging from explosives to anthrax. In addition, the team is trained to help local emergency responders figure out what to do to support public safety, the Tampa Tribune reports.

Lt. Col. Joe DeFee, the commander of the unit, and his team worked with Tampa Fire Rescue, the FBI, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Gaming Commission during the exercise in an effort to implement command structure and proper communication. DeFee said that members of his team have trained hundreds of hours for drills such as these.

“Individual training programs can take as much as 400 to 500 hours and upwards of 900 hours for the medical team,” DeFee said, according to the Tampa Tribune. “They produce an initial hazard model before we leave so we know what we are driving into. We have a rough idea of what we are facing and then adapt the model as the situation matures.”

DeFee’s team must be ready at a moment’s notice and its members are always on call and must show up when summoned. DeFee was part of the 44th CST assigned to help the Environmental Protection Agency and other officials to assess the contamination level during the anthrax attacks of 2001.

“We are ready 24/7,” DeFee said, according to the Tampa Tribune (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Arizona High School To Simulate Anthrax Attack
Date: February 21, 2012
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: A Phoenix high school plans to host an emergency preparedness drill that will simulate a bioterrorist attack using anthrax.

Approximately 300 volunteers will be needed to test point-of-distribution plans for dispensing medical countermeasures, according to AZCentral.com.

Jim Lee, the director of student services for the Paradise Valley Unified School District, said that the simulation will be Phoenix’s first full-scale preparedness exercise. The PVUSD has been working in conjunction with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to develop the drill.

“This gives us an opportunity to test the plan,” Lee said, AZCentral.com reports.

The current plan calls for setting up a series of point-of-distribution sites that will serve to represent the kind of drive-through pharmacies that would be needed in the case of an anthrax attack. During a real emergency, the sites would distribute countermeasures to the public.

Public health department spokeswoman Jeanene Fowler said that the drive-thru point-of-distribution method was selected because of the transient nature of the Phoenix area. Fowler said that the most difficult part of the exercise may be finding the 300 volunteers needed to drive through the distribution points. Drivers are being offered lunch and gas cards for their time.

“It’s a good opportunity to help out the community,” Fowler said, AZCentral.com reports (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Louisiana Simulates Anthrax Attack
Date: March 2, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals ran a three day drill this week in cities throughout the state to test the state’s public health response to distributing life-saving medication during an emergency.

The simulation was the release of anthrax. The simulation required volunteers to pretend to be residents affected by the release. One such simulation took place at Nicholls State University on Thursday in Lafourche Parish, Houma Today reports.

“When people think about public health, they think about things like shots,” Connie Gistand, the medical director of the Region 3 public health office, which oversees Terrebonne and Lafourche, said, according to Houma Today. “But we do more than that. We’re here to protect the health of the public. We’re ready.”

Anthrax is a fatal disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria and can be treated early with antibiotics.

The Nicholls State simulation was staffed with nursing students from the university. The school’s Shaver Gym served as a distribution point for residents of the area to get antibiotics. In a real emergency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Strategic National Stockpile would deliver medications to the state within 12 hours. The state’s health department would then enact its own plan for distribution, using many dispensing points like the one at Nichols.

“You never know when you’re going to need to use something like this,” Ernest Triggs, a resident of Thibodaux and a volunteer for the simulation, said, according to Houma Today. “If we have a situation, somebody might need your help, and you’ll know what to do” (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Illinois County To Simulate Anthrax Attack
Date: March 13, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Illinois first responders and hospitals in McLean County, along with officials with the Red Cross, Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University, will run a tabletop exercise on Wednesday simulating an inhalation anthrax release.

Shay Simmons, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the McLean County Health Department, said that the tabletop exercise will prepare officials in the area for an emergency response for any pandemic. The department ran a simulated improvised explosive device explosion last year and the year before that it ran a simulated plane crash at Central Illinois Regional Airport, WJBC reports.

“Inhalation anthrax is not something we’re going to see in McLean County very often, I don’t think, but it’s a similar scenario to what would happen if we had a really bad pandemic flu,” Simmons said, according to WJBC. “Think H1N1, but much worse.”

The drill is meant to work out all the mistakes before a full-scale live drill in September.

“We are going to be looking for role players, we’re going to try and push a couple hundred people through a simulated dispensing scenario,” Simmons said, according to WJBC. “We’re not going to wait until September to practice this, that’s why we’re doing a tabletop exercise this week.”

The exercise will occur at Illinois State University on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m  (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: California County Simulates Terrorist Attack
Date: March 16, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Volunteers in San Mateo County, California, recently helped local first responders conduct an emergency drill that tested the county’s ability to distribute medication in the event of a disaster or terrorist attack.

Approximately 65 volunteers split into several groups to conduct a door to door simulated distribution. The volunteers distributed emergency preparedness brochures to local residents near Menlo College and Atherton, according to SanMateo.Patch.com.

In a real emergency, the teams would be handing out packets containing enough medical countermeasures to treat a family of four, according to Carol Parker, an emergency services specialist with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. The volunteers knocked on the doors of nearly 250 area residents between 9 a.m. and noon on the day of the drill.

The drill, known as “Silver Dragon,” was intended to help evaluate the emergency procedures developed by the San Mateo County Health System, as well as the ability of local agencies to coordinate their actions when facing a major disaster. Public health officials have held similar emergency drills for six consecutive years.

Parker said that some disasters might require the establishment of a mass clinic, as opposed to a delivery chain.

“But if you had a pandemic or anthrax, then you need to go out into the neighborhoods rather than bringing the mass people together,” Parker said, SanMateo.Patch.com reports (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Virgin Islands Simulates Anthrax Attack Response
Date: March 19, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: A team of police in the Virgin Islands ran a counterterrorism drill on Friday to pursue four fake suspects and contain fake anthrax that they released at the former J. Antonio Jarvis school building.

The team of officers took part in the drill during the midday heat on Friday, attempting to track both the simulated suspects and a detectable but harmless anthrax substitute, Virgin Islands Daily News reports.

The Virgin Islands was also in Department of Homeland Security news this week for the closure of a large refinery that might affect United States infrastructure, the dependence on foreign imports and the vulnerability to terrorism. During a subcommittee hearing, the DHS plans to discuss the refinery closings and the consequences on pipelines to national security, the Examiner reports.

“More than 30 U.S. refineries have closed in the last decade,” Representative Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), said, according to the Examiner. “Most recently, two Philadelphia area refineries have closed and one is scheduled to close. Together they account for 50 percent of the Northeast’s capacity. Another large refinery in the Virgin Islands has closed. This hearing will help us understand the homeland security consequences of refinery closures, both in terms of threats to critical infrastructure and our dependence on imports from unstable parts of the world. The pipelines, could be vulnerable to disruption from a terrorist attack or natural disaster” (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Central Wyoming College Simulates Anthrax Attack
Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: A simulated emergency anthrax response drill was recently staged at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming, in order to test the community’s mass inoculation system.

The premise behind the drill was a simulated anthrax release. The event was not open to the public, but instead utilized the students and faculty from the college and the staff of Fremont County Public Health, according toCounty10.com.

“The faculty had advance notice so they would let their students go,” Carolyn Aanestead, from CWC, said, County10.com reports. “We wanted to test how long it took to get the campus mobilized and to the gym in the event of an actual emergency.”

All students and faculty were sent an email asking them to report to the gym immediately. Inside the gym, various stations were set up where potential victims were screened and directed to medicine dispensing areas.

The Fremont County Public Health Department’s mobile emergency response trailer, equipped with two fully functioning nurse’s stations, was brought in to aid the process.

Local law enforcement personnel provided traffic control and security for the event.

Teresa Nirider, a public health nurse and the drill’s public information officer, said that antibiotics have been stored across the county in case of a real emergency.

“If we did not have sufficient “assets” here, then we would request them from the National Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta from the National Strategic Stockpile,” Nirider said,County10.com reports (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Emergency Workers In Glasgow Simulate Chemical Attack
Date: April 3, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Emergency workers in Glasgow, Scotland, took part in a simulated chemical attack at the Shields Road underground station as part of a major incident exercise.

Exercise Sub Culture, a simulated chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear attack, was organized by Strathclyde Emergencies Co-ordination Group. The group is responsible for responding to major incidents such as the one simulated, Daily Record reports.

During the exercise, emergency workers wore chemical suits and rescued simulated casualties who were hosed down and treated for simulated injuries. Staff from the police, ambulance and fire departments, in addition to officials from the health board, council and transport authority, all took part in the exercise. Exercise Sub Culture lasted from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“With the Olympics, Paralympics and the Commonwealth Games firmly on our horizon, this is the ideal opportunity to demonstrate our commitment and readiness to deal with such an eventuality,” Stephen House, the chairman of the SECG, said, according to the Daily Record.

The 2012 Olympics in London will hold some of its football matches at Hampden Park in Glasgow, which is Scotland’s national stadium. The 20th Commonwealth Games will occur in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3, 2014. It will feature 17 sports over 11 days of competition (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Bio-Terror Attack Drills In St. Louis
Date: April 5, 2012
Source: Fox 2 News

Abstract: Would St. Louis be ready for a biological terrorist attack? The St. Louis County Health Department and 17 other departments from Missouri and Illinois are holding full-scale exercises on Thursday.

They are testing their response to a wide-spread bio-hazard. Specifically their ability to dispense medicine in the event of an anthrax exposure. The drill begins at 10am Thursday at Jefferson Barracks Park (Fox 2 News, 2012).

Title: Missouri, Illinois First Responders Simulate Biological Attack
Date: April 6, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: First responders from the St. Louis County Health Department and 17 other departments from Illinois and Missouri participated in a biological attack drill on Thursday.

The health officials tested their response to a wide spread biohazard, particularly how effectively they could dispense medicine in case of anthrax exposure. The drill was held in Jefferson Barracks Park in St. Louis, KPLR 11 reports.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is a deadly disease caused by the spore-forming Bacillus anthracis bacterium. Anthrax was used as a weapon in the United States in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks, when it was spread deliberately through the postal system in letters that contained anthrax powder. Twenty-two people were infected with anthrax, and five died as a result of the infection.

Anthrax, which is not known to spread from one person to another, can be transmitted by touching, inhaling or digesting anthrax. Humans can become infected by handling products from infected anthrax, inhaling anthrax spores from infected animal products or by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. Inhalation anthrax is the most severe form of the disease. Those with cutaneous anthrax, which occurs from touching the bacterium, can be cured with early antibiotic treatment (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Kansas CST Trained To Handle Chemical And Biological Threats
Date: April 10, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: The Kansas-based 73rd Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction, visited Fort Leavenworth from March 27-29 to conduct a training exercise related to chemical and biological threats.

The Kansas CST is a joint effort by the Kansas Air National Guard and Army that employs 22 full-time experts to respond to biological and chemical threats throughout the state. There are 57 teams trained to handle such threats nationwide. The CST works to support local first responders and law enforcement, Comtex reports.

“Everything we do is locked in step with our civilian partners,” Sgt. George McMahon, a noncommissioned officer on the team, said, according to Comtex. “We act in support of them.”

During its training at Fort Leavenworth, the team practiced several scenarios, including a simulated chemical or biological dump at a public pool and a vehicle spraying an unknown chemical along a street.

“Every exercise has been a different scenario,” Lt. Col. Dirk Christian, the commander of the unit, said, according to Comtex. “We really train the whole set of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats.”

The Fort Leavenworth Fire Department also gave support to the March exercise, as approximately 20 firefighters in the area are also trained to handle hazardous materials.

“It gives us a chance to know what our capabilities are so we can know when to contact them,” Christian said, according to Comtex. “It’s also just good to network before there’s an emergency situation” (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Myrtle Beach Firefighters Conduct Emergency Training
Date: April 11, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Firefighters in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, recently completed a series of simulations designed to test their ability to handle an emergency involving a biological weapon of mass destruction.

A portion of the Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue Squad used a training facility located at one of their fire stations to simulate an incident involving a biological agent, according to SCNow.com.

The hazardous materials teams wore a variety of different hazmat suits as they walked through the steps needed to isolate, test and clean a potentially dangerous area.

“They’re also trained in what we call weapons of mass destruction,” Bob Derr, a battalion chief for Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue, said, SCNow.com reports. “If there is a biological agent, a nerve agent, things like that. This gives the citizens a little level of comfort knowing that their fire department can respond to an incident.”

Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue conducts similar training annually. During the training, firefighters are taught how to carefully analyze a situation for telltale signs it might involve a biological agent of some type.

To aid the MBFR, the South Carolina Hazardous Materials Working Group operates four advanced decontamination chambers, including one located in Horry County, near Myrtle Beach. The SCHMWG is a state-run organization tasked with helping local fire departments in information collection and distribution for use in emergencies (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Wyoming County Conducts Anthrax Emergency Drill
Date: April 19, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Public health officials in Fremont County, Wyoming, recently held a disaster readiness drill that simulated a large-scale anthrax release in the area.

The drill tested the Fremont County Public Health Department’s ability to distribute prophylactic medication and disseminate critical information in case of a biological emergency, according toDailyRanger.com.

The FCPHD was notified of the simulation through the county’s emergency alert system at 8 a.m. All county health personnel were told to report that morning to Central Wyoming College.

Public Information Officer Teresa Nirider said that the exercise was conducted primarily to test the countywide communication system, to increase the health department’s emergency capabilities and to increase the cooperation between county health officials and those of CWC, where medication is to be distributed in case of an emergency.

The students and faculty of Central Wyoming College also participated in the exercise. They received emergency text messages, emails and phone calls as part of the college’s Rustler Alert System that told them to immediately report to the school’s gymnasium.

“We are hoping to test how many people we can get through the gym within two hours, because in the event of a biological exposure, we would want to get people in and out in 10 minutes,” Nirider said, DailyRanger.com reports.

According to Nirider, the drill was conducted according to guidelines prepared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Strategic National Stockpile Plan (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Minneapolis-St. Paul To Conduct Large Scale MCM Distribution Test
Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: Approximately 40,000 Minneapolis-St. Paul residents are scheduled to receive an empty pill bottle in their mailboxes on May 6 as part of a test of the area’s bioterrorism emergency antibiotic distribution system.

The empty pill bottle represents the medical countermeasures to be given to the public in the event of a bioterror attack using an airborne agent such as anthrax, according to StarTribune.com.

The drill, named “Operation Medicine Delivery,” is being conducted as a joint effort between the Minnesota Department of Health and the U.S. Postal Service. More than 300 mail carriers are participating in the exercise, which crosses four zip codes and hopes to reach at least 37,000 residences.

In a real emergency, mail carriers would be expected to deliver preventative doses of medication to residents within the first 48 hours of an attack, although much of the distribution effort in that critical time would be carried out through the use of local dispensing sites that would be run by area public health organizations.

The exercise in the Twin Cities will be the first full-scale test of a system that has tried in Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle with some success. Minnesota health officials, who have been developing the system since 2004, expect other states to closely watch the outcome.

“We made it a priority,” health department spokesman Buddy Ferguson said,StarTribune.com reports. “We really felt it was important to take the lead on this” (Bio Prep Watch, 2012).

Title: Homeland Security To Test Biological Sensors In MBTA Tunnels
Date: April 30, 2012
Source: CBS News


Abstract: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be releasing bacteria into the MBTA tunnels to test the safety of the subway.

The DHS has installed sensors in the MBTA system to detect biological agents and they’ve been testing to see how the air moves.

Now they want to release particles in the tunnels to see how well the sensors work.

The tests will be held at stations in Cambridge and Somerville.

Federal officials say they test the subway sensors by releasing dead bacteria called B-subtilis. They say it is used in food supplements, has been rigorously tested and has no adverse health effects for low exposure in healthy people.

The tests will be held during the off hours this summer, likely overnight. As part of the legal process, a hearing will be held May 16, from 5:30-7:30pm at the Cambridge YMCA in Central Square. The public will be able to voice concerns and comments.

READ: DHS Test Summary

While the systems are being evaluated, Massachusetts public health officials will be working closely with DHS and the MBTA to monitor the results. The MBTA and DHS are coordinating these efforts with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Cambridge Public Health Department, and the Somerville Health Department, with support from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (CBS News, 2012)

Title: Chicago Hospitals Perform Dirty Bomb Response Drills Ahead Of NATO Summit
Date: May 1, 2012
Source:
New York Post

Abstract: Chicago's suburban hospitals are preparing for a worst-case scenario during next month's NATO summit.

At least 10 Chicago hospitals performed drills this week, including Evanston Hospital, simulating a radioactive dirty bomb explosion.

YouTube Video

"We want to make sure that, as we're getting close to the NATO Summit, that our staff are ready and trained and able to take care of our community," NorthShore University HealthSystem's Brigham Temple said.

The "victims" were volunteers from the US Navy's Great Lakes training center.

An estimated 500 medical professionals and other volunteers donned bulky protective suits, tested radiation detectors and ministered to about 100 US Navy recruits Wednesday.

They were posing as victims of a so-called "dirty bomb" that had exploded, leaving them with deadly radioactive cesium on their skin. Doctors and nurses would risk their own lives if they began treating the wounded before they are cleansed of radiation.

Temple said Wednesday's dirty bomb scenario had been worked out in conjunction with the Secret Service and the federal Department of Homeland Security.

US authorities are preparing in the days ahead to deploy black-suited federal agents in and around federal buildings downtown.

"If something does happen, God forbid, we'll be ready to do something about it," doctor Michael George said.

While federal officials say there is no specific, credible threat of an attack inside the United States, they did warn Thursday that a so-called "lone wolf" terrorist might try to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Usama bin Laden next week. That anniversary comes on May 2.

Among the leaders expected to attend the NATO summit from May 21-22 are President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, French President Nicholas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (New York Post, 2012).

Title: MBTA Will Run Summer Tests For Bioterrorism In Subway Tunnels
Date: May 2, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Agents from the Department of Homeland Security plan to run bioterrorism tests on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority by releasing live bacteria into local subway tunnels this summer.

The bacteria strain, which is harmless to individuals who are healthy, will be used to determine if safety sensors in the tunnels are working. Sensors created to detect airborne attacks have already been installed at MBTA stations in Somerville and Cambridge. The goal of the devices is to detect dangerous biological agents and alert authorities, giving them the opportunity to take protective measures within 20 minutes, My Fox Boston reports.

“God forbid we have any kind of terror attack in our tunnels, we need to know how to react and this testing with the Department of Homeland Security will help us know how to evacuate and make sure people are safe,” Richard Davey, the MBTA general manager, said, according to My Fox Boston.

The tests are likely to take place during the summer in both Somerville and Cambridge and would occur during off hours. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and public health officials will be monitoring the exercises.

Concerned citizens can attend a public hearing on the issue of the testing on May 16 at the Cambridge YMCA (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Minn. Exercise Will Measure Anthrax Response Tme By USPS
Date: May 4, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch


Abstract: A bioterrorism simulation scheduled for Sunday will take place in the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, area to determine how quickly the United States Postal Service can respond to an anthrax attack.

Operation Medicine Delivery is the first dry run of the USPS’s anthrax response plan. The exercise was announced on Thursday at a joint press conference of the USPS and the Minnesota Department of Health, Security Management reports.

“We’re going to be looking at how quickly it takes us to get the supply in and to different types of households – apartment buildings versus rural areas and areas where there’s a significant walk to one place to another,” Edward J. Gabriel, the principal deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said, according to Security Management.

The exercise will assess the process from the first confirmation of a simulated biological attack to medication delivery and debriefing. The exercise is mostly unscripted.

“The staging of the medication, placing them into the postal vehicles, the postal workers coming to work, the operation center monitoring the activities – all of it will be a part of the exercise,” Gabriel said, according to Security Management. “We plan, but don’t script it to the point where every variable is thought out ahead of time because we want to test how the process works.”

The National Postal Model for the Delivery of Medical Countermeasures is the federal government’s plan to deploy postal workers within 48 hours to deliver antibiotics to residents. Inhalation anthrax has a 90 percent mortality rate, but the rate drops to 75 percent if antibiotics are started within 48 hours.

To distribute medicine to the 575,000 people in households throughout the two cities, 180 volunteer carriers would be needed. The Minnesota program currently has over 300 volunteers.

“Will (the postal model) be a success?” Gabriel said, according to Security Management. “It’s already a success. (In this exercise) we’re looking to see what parts of the system can do better and what parts of the process can potentially be changed” (Bio Prep Watch, 2012)

Title: Large Scale MCM Delivery System Tested In Minnesota
Date: May 8, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Public health officials said the recent test of an emergency medicine delivery system in Minneapolis/St. Paul went well, but further analysis of the system will be conducted.

A spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Health said the system, which utilizes the U.S. Postal Service to deliver critical medical countermeasures, worked without any major problems, but more time is needed to assess it critically, according to StarTribune.com.

During what was called Operation Medicine Delivery, 300 mail carriers distributed simulated antibiotics to approximately 37,000 households in the region from four different ZIP codes. The drill began in the morning and was finished by 3 p.m.

“We’re very pleased with how the field portion of this test went,” Buddy Ferguson, a spokesman for the state Health Department, said, StarTribune.com reports. “We think this will be a very promising option in the event of an emergency. But there are lots of moving parts to it, and still lots of things yet to assess, lots of people, including law enforcement, to talk to about potential barriers that might be out there.”

Operation Medicine Delivery was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Similar pilot-tests have been conducted in Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle, but the Twin Cities’ test is the first one conducted on such a large scale (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Baltimore Plans Major Bioterror Simulation
Date: May 10, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Local health officials in Baltimore are preparing to conduct a major bioterrorist disaster drill this week.

The emergency exercise is planned to test the preparedness of local health departments to respond to an attack using a biological agent, in this case anthrax. Local departments plan to distribute antibiotics nearby residents after the simulated release, according to Gazette.net.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is sponsoring the two day event, which is being coordinated according to plans adopted as part of the federally funded Cities Readiness Initiative. Local health departments intend to distribute medication, provide information to the public and media, and share critical data among themselves.

Fran Philips, DHMH’s deputy secretary for public health services, said the drill will focus solely on the Baltimore metropolitan area, excluding nearby Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

“These exercises make us better prepared,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the secretary of DHMH, said, Gazette.net reports. “Training also supports collaboration for day-to-day challenges.”

Different jurisdictions plan to test different aspects of the plan. Baltimore city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne’s counties are all scheduled to take part.

Local health workers in Baltimore will test how quickly they can receive and inventory medicine delivered from the state. Although health workers in Howard County will be going door to door in some neighborhoods to distribute medicine, the general public will not be involved in the drill (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: U.S. And Korea To Hold Bio-Threat Simulation
Date: May 14, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The South Korean Ministry of National Defense announced on Friday that The United States and Korea will hold an anti-biological terrorism simulation this week.

The simulation, which is called the Able Response 12, will involve 50 U.S. and Korean government organizations, as well as 190 experts from fields related to the exercise. This represents the second time the simulation has been held, the Korea Herald reports.

Able Response 12 is meant to test the country’s ability to respond to biological threats that arise from terrorism in addition to biological threats that occur naturally like avian flu epidemics. The experts participating in the drill will look for ways to collaborate in improving the responsiveness to such incidents.

In March, a defense white paper released by the ministry said that South Korea does not have the capabilities to deal with biological weapons such as the smallpox virus. According to the paper, North Korea has biological capabilities including the ability to create the deadly virus.

“Anyone who has the intent and the capability can now create the smallpox virus, which is the most devastating disease we have ever seen,” Jacob Cohn, a representative of Danish vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic, said, according to the Korea Herald. “Here the risk (of a smallpox outbreak) is double, in the sense that you have a next door neighbor and you have the international community risk.”

Most of the seven million doses the country has stockpiled against smallpox since 2002 were found in the paper to have exceeded the recommended storage duration or are unfit for use (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Wyoming County Tests Emergency Preparedness With Anthrax Simulation
Date: May 15, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Public health officials in Laramie County, Wyoming, recently conducted an emergency health disaster drill that simulated a release of the bioterror agent anthrax.

The Laramie County Health Department and several emergency and health organizations ran the drill to assess their readiness to deal with a variety of outbreaks, according to KGWN.TV.

“What we’re looking at now is the anthrax, but it also could be pandemic influenza to where we’re actually giving shots,” Gus Lopez of the Laramie County Department said, KGWN.TV reports.

Lopez said that the system has been tested before, but it is necessary for workers to practice how to treat patients in different situations.

“The most recent was a couple of years ago when we had the H1N1. That tested our capability,” Lopez said, KGWN.TV reports.

The large exercise, which is federally funded, is conducted under the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program, and occurs once every several years.

“In the event of a real emergency were we to order the strategic national stockpile of course our residents would receive any of the medications that they needed free of charge,” Dr. Wendy Braund, a state health official, said, KGWN.TV reports.

In an actual emergency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control would be contacted in order to access the strategic national stockpile.

“They promise to get us these supplies within 12 hours is what everybody’s prepared for,” Kim Deti of the Wyoming Health Department said, KGWN.TV reports. “We’re supposed to get them into the hands of everybody in Wyoming. We’re supposed to show that we can do that within 48 hours” (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: W. Va. County Plans Simulated Public Health Emergency
Date: May 15, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The health department in Marion County, West Virginia, is planning a simulated public health emergency for June to ensure that it is prepared for anthrax scares, flu outbreaks and other emergency situations.

The Marion County Health Department facility has had some renovation work done in the past few months and, upon the work’s completion, the workers will move back in and perform a mock emergency drill. The drill will ensure that employees are prepared for emergencies ranging from pandemics to bioterrorism attacks given the new alterations to the building, WDTV reports.

The health department is actively seeking volunteers to get involved in the West Virginia Responder Emergency Deployment Information system and participate in the exercise. The REDI system is a web-based program that was developed to facilitate public health and medical response through identifying, credentialing and deploying West Virginia citizens who are willing to serve in non-emergent and emergency situations.

Registration to the system is open to medical and health professionals in the state, as well as other who work or live in the state and are willing to assist during health related emergencies or events. The REDI system is part of the Bureau for Public Health’s Threat Preparedness division under the Department of Health and Human Resources (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: National Guard CSTs Remained Active In 2011
Date: May 16, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The National Guard’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams were deployed in the United States 128 times in support of civil authorities during fiscal year 2011.

The CSTs were established in 1998 and have been operating as full-time federally-funded National Guard units since 2001. They operate in support of local civil authorities to respond to events known or suspected of involving weapons of mass destruction, including the use of biological warfare agents, according to HSToday.us.

“We’re able to respond to an actual or suspected terrorist WMD incident and intentional and non-intentional release of CBRNE materials or natural or man-made disaster in the United States that has caused or can cause catastrophic loss of property,” Frank Hudoba, the National Guard bureau chief for the CSTs, said, HSToday.us reports.

Currently, 57 CSTs are deployed throughout the United States, although budget cuts call for the elimination of second teams recently added in New York state and Florida.

CSTs operate under federal doctrine, but while performing missions they are generally placed under the command and control of the states in which they are located. This division in command allows the CSTs to respond faster to an emergency. A CST can typically deploy within three hours of notification.

In addition to deployments involving white powder incidents, suspicious substances, chemical hazards and suspicious labs, CSTs were called on 504 times in 2011 for standby missions. These included national and state special security events, sporting events and political gatherings (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Wyoming Tests Anthrax Response Plans
Date: May 17, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Public health officials and emergency response agencies in Wyoming recently conducted a full-scale drill simulating an attack using the bioterror agent anthrax.

Fifteen Wyoming counties participated in the exercise, called “Operation Prairie Eagle,” that briefly turned the gym at Laramie County Community College into a countermeasure dispensary, according to WyomingNews.com.

The Laramie County Health Department and several emergency and health organizations ran the drill to assess their readiness to deal with a variety of outbreaks.

Wyoming conducts a large-scale exercise once every few years using federal funds from the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.

“In the event of a real emergency were we to order the strategic national stockpile of course our residents would receive any of the medications that they needed free of charge,” Dr. Wendy Braund, a state health official, said, KGWN.TV reports. “We hope than an event like this never occurs, but it is very important to be ready.

In an actual emergency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control would be contacted in order to access the U.S. strategic national stockpile.

“They promise to get us these supplies within 12 hours is what everybody’s prepared for. We’re supposed to get them into the hands of everybody in Wyoming. We’re supposed to show that we can do that within 48 hours,” Kim Deti of the Wyoming Health Department said, KGWN.TV reports.

Braund said Wyoming faces special obstacles when it comes to distributing medication, including the challenge of the long distances between towns.

The National Guard’s Civil Support Team, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Transportation and area fire districts were among the agencies participating in the drill. Officials said they are unsure of how much it will cost.

“An exercise of this magnitude is not done every year,” Braund said, WyomingNews.com reports. “It really is a large collaborative effort” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Wyoming Tests Anthrax Response Plans
Date: May 17, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Public health officials and emergency response agencies in Wyoming recently conducted a full-scale drill simulating an attack using the bioterror agent anthrax.

Fifteen Wyoming counties participated in the exercise, called “Operation Prairie Eagle,” that briefly turned the gym at Laramie County Community College into a countermeasure dispensary, according to WyomingNews.com.

The Laramie County Health Department and several emergency and health organizations ran the drill to assess their readiness to deal with a variety of outbreaks.

Wyoming conducts a large-scale exercise once every few years using federal funds from the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program.

“In the event of a real emergency were we to order the strategic national stockpile of course our residents would receive any of the medications that they needed free of charge,” Dr. Wendy Braund, a state health official, said, KGWN.TV reports. “We hope than an event like this never occurs, but it is very important to be ready.

In an actual emergency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control would be contacted in order to access the U.S. strategic national stockpile.

“They promise to get us these supplies within 12 hours is what everybody’s prepared for. We’re supposed to get them into the hands of everybody in Wyoming. We’re supposed to show that we can do that within 48 hours,” Kim Deti of the Wyoming Health Department said, KGWN.TV reports.

Braund said Wyoming faces special obstacles when it comes to distributing medication, including the challenge of the long distances between towns.

The National Guard’s Civil Support Team, the Wyoming Highway Patrol, the Department of Revenue, the Department of Transportation and area fire districts were among the agencies participating in the drill. Officials said they are unsure of how much it will cost.

“An exercise of this magnitude is not done every year,” Braund said, WyomingNews.com reports. “It really is a large collaborative effort” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Boston Plans Bioterror Tests At MBTA Stations
Date: May 22, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate are planning to test biological detection gear at multiple Boston subway system stations this summer.

The tests will occur at the Cambridge and Somerville stations. The equipment will be evaluated by using a harmless dead bacteria to determine how quickly pathogens can be found by the detection devices. Specific dates for the tests have yet to be provided by the MBTA, GSN reports.

The transit agency held a public meeting on Wednesday for interested parties to voice comments and concerns. The DHS will consider all comments received through June 15. The DHS conducted an environmental assessment and found no significant impact when using a food-safe, innocuous test bacterium to determine how well the systems can detect hazardous biological materials in the subway stations.

The Bacillus subtilis bacterium is found in soil and is not transmittable to humans. It has been used on produce as a bio-fungicide and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The DHS decided to use the dead form of the bacteria so as to avoid impacting immune sensitive populations.

The MBTA’s QinetiQ sensors are designed to detect hazardous biological materials to allow for rapid responses within 20 minutes to reduce the consequences of a biological attack. The sensors were installed in the stations in December, according to GSN (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Illinois First Responders Simulate Bioterrorism Attack
Date: May 22, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Employees and volunteers at the Quad-Cities Processing & Distribution Facility in Rock Island County, Illinois, participated in a full-scale bioterrorism exercise on Thursday to prepare first responders for biological attacks.

Hundreds of thousands of letters go through the processing facility for the U.S. Postal Service every day and a biodetection system is in place to scan each letter for anthrax. The plan in place to handle a bioterrorism emergency was put to the test on Thursday, the Quad-City Times reports.

The Thursday exercise included members of the Rock Island County Health Department, Coal Valley police and fire protection districts, Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department, Rock Island County Emergency Management, Quad-City International Airport Security and volunteers from the Rock Island High School Spanish Club.

“Our first job is to get a head count of the employees affected,” Nick Ciummo, a national preparedness specialist with the postal service, said, according to the Quad-City Times. “Then they go through decontamination, and then they get their medicine.”

Firefighters with hoses pretended to spray down volunteers, who then took real showers in MABAS vehicles. Volunteers were checked for vital signs before boarding a bus and being taken to a medical area where they would receive their medications. In a real situation, the medications would be taken from the national stockpile.

“We do this every three years,” Ciummo said, according to the Quad-City Times. “Our employees are our number one resource and are an integral part of the communities in which they live. We want to take care of them and be prepared for any emergency” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Memphis Holds Anthrax Drill
Date: May 23, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The Memphis Post Office recently held an emergency drill that simulated the release of the bioterror agent anthrax.

During the exercise, anthrax spores were discovered in a letter and postal security officers, firefighters, hospital workers and police had to respond quickly and efficiently to ensure the safety of those involved, according to Downtown.EMCTV.com.

“That’s part of the drill today, we are going to see how quickly we can do it, you know, practice makes perfect,” U.S. Post Office spokesman David Walton said, according to Downtown.EMCTV.com.

Once the simulated anthrax was found, sirens sounded and the downtown post office was immediately evacuated. Emergency workers moved in quickly to begin the decontamination process.

Regina Holmes was one of dozens of volunteers who helped to add a sense of realism to the proceedings.

“It’s deadly right, it’s very deadly and it cuts off your respiratory system and the minute it does that your basically out of here,” Holmes said, Downtown.EMCTV.com reports. “Organizers say there’s a good reason for these types of drills. In 2001, a deadly anthrax powder was actually discovered in a letter at a Washington D.C. Post office.”

Emergency officials said that they do not consider a bioterror event a likely scenario in the near future, but if it occurs, they will be ready for it (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: N.C. First Responders Take Part In Bioterrorism Drill
Date: May 23, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Local emergency responders in Fayetteville, North Carolina, responded to a simulated chemical and biological weapons attack at the Crown Expo Center on Tuesday morning.

The Graham-based training and consulting EnviroSafe devised a scenario in which a homemade explosive device spewed white powders and chemicals on those attending a conference inside the center. Emergency responders treated role players to determine how the responders would handle a bioterrorism threat, the Fayetteville Observer reports.

Personnel from the Spring Lake, Stedman, Cotton and Fayetteville fire departments participated in the drill along with members of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management and the Fayetteville Police Department.

“A local fanatic has spent a year designing a device containing explosives, pool chemicals, gas and what he thinks is anthrax,” Jon Soles, a Cumberland County spokesman, said, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

The sheriff’s office bomb squad sent a robot in to assess the situation as firefighters and hazardous materials teams set up trucks and a decontamination area in the parking lot. Victims had to go through decontamination before being placed in an ambulance and being taken away.

Evaluators from EnviroSafe were on hand to critique the response during a meeting with county representatives after the completion of the drill (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: South Korean Soldiers Participate In CBRN Training
Date: May 29, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Soldiers from South Korea’s 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command took part in a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training exercise on Thursday at Camp Carroll in southeast South Korea.

The soldiers participated in the drill to learn the proper procedures for protecting themselves and their fellow soldiers from CBRN incidents. The soldiers wore their joint service lightweight integrated suit technology garments and chemical protective masks during the exercise. The garments, which include underwear, overboots, overgarments and gloves worn over their army combat uniforms, would give them protection against battlefield contaminants during a real incident, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System reports.

The soldiers formed groups of 10 and entered into a gas chamber wearing their protective masks. Next, they checked to ensure their equipment was properly worn. The soldiers then removed their masks, held their breath, closed their eyes and were exposed to chemical gas before shouting a chant and exiting the chamber.

“It was not too bad, and I am glad that I did it,” Lee Dong-hyun, a private first class and equal opportunity assistant with the 19th ESC, said, according to Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System. “The training really built confidence in (my) protective mask that it really works and how important it is to have good maintenance on it” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Missouri County To Test Drive Through Antibiotics Distribution
Date: June 1, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: On June 28, disaster experts in St. Charles County, Missouri, plan to test a drive-through method of distributing antibiotics in the event of a large-scale biological attack.

An effective disaster plan includes the dispensation of antibiotics in a timely manner. Those exposed to anthrax or other air-released spores develop symptoms within 48 hours and must be hospitalized after symptoms occur, which is usually within 72 hours, STLBeacon reports.

Parts of Illinois have tested the drive-through distribution method but it has not yet been attempted in the metropolitan St. Louis Area. Five hundred drivers will be used to assess the plan, St. Charles County Community Health Director Gil Copley said.

“If we have enough people to come to the exercise, we can test our plan to find out what works and doesn’t work, and what sort of works and needs to be fine-tuned,” Copley said, according to STLBeacon.

Participants in the distribution test will receive a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich. The St. Peters location is providing 500 lunches for citizens who complete the drill.

Anthrax is considered a major threat because it can be easily produced in vitro and aerosolized. In 2001, letters containing anthrax were mailed to two Democratic senators and several news offices, infecting 22 and killing five (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: CBRN Disaster Simulation Held In Illinois
Date: June 6, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: More than 200 people from businesses in Cook and Lake counties in Illinois, in addition to state, federal and local jurisdictions, took part in a full-scale disaster exercise on Saturday in Lake Forest.

The annual exercise for the 335th Signal Command, called Exercise Red Dragon 2012, took place at the W.W. Grainger offices. The simulation was meant to test the abilities of the Army Reserve chemical units to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents. In addition, the drill encouraged communication between medical personnel, first responders, and community and business leaders in Lake and Cook counties, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

“(The event focused) on strengthening the relationships between public and private organizations through hands-on training, as well as exploring ideas to help us work better together,” Kent McKenzie, the Lake County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator, said, according to the Chicago Sun Times. “The time to strengthen our partnerships is now, not after the crisis hits.”

In addition to the exercise, experts from private and public organizations led discussions on topics connected to catastrophic response and community resiliency.

This was the Lake-Cook Regional Critical Incident Partnership’s third year partnering with Grainger and the Army Reserve to host a preparedness summit. The Lake-Cook partnership is a consortium of emergency response agencies and local businesses in the area.

“This exercise will improve their role in providing seamless support to federal, state and local authorities during an emergency response to a large-scale attack or disaster,” Brig. Gen. Wayne Brock, III, the deputy commander of the 335th Signal Command and the director of the exercise, said, according to the Chicago Sun Times (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Florida Emergency Workers Teach Bioprep To Young Students
Date: June 4, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: First responders from Hernando County, Florida, recently taught students about bioterrorism, emergency response and weapons of mass destruction during a two day event held at a local elementary school.

Teachers at the Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics received special training from Hernando Fire Rescue and the Hernando hazardous response team that focused on what their jobs entail, according to TampaBay.com.

The emergency crews watched PowerPoint presentations and videos with the students, and some students were even selected to enter a decontamination chamber.

“We learned about how you can get hazardous materials off your body,” student Brooke Fielder said, TampaBay.com reports. “You can either dilute it, absorb it, (use a) power wash and (go into) isolation.”

In a lesson on cross-contamination, students innocently passed around a helmet that had been covered in a substance that glowed in the dark, but was invisible under normal light. When a black light was turned on, the students were able to see how a seemingly innocuous object could potentially harm everyone that came into contact with it.

The lessons fit into the students’ curriculum by covering benchmarks for science, including the study of toxins, infectious diseases and other pathogens. The students were also assigned to read “Code Orange,” a book about a smallpox outbreak (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Alabama County Conducts Major Bioterror Drill
Date: June 8, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: First responders in Jefferson County, Alabama, recently conducted an emergency operations drill simulating a biological attack.

Emergency management crews and the Jefferson County Health Department practiced their response to an attack using aerosolized anthrax by testing their procedures for dispensing medical countermeasures, according to ABC3430.com.

The “points of dispensing” training session, which was held at the gym of Gardendale High School, included the use of more than 300 local volunteers.

“We are, at the health department, the EMA, and other agencies are wanting to make sure our community is prepared for major disasters,” Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County Health Department said, ABC3430.com reports.

The exercise, though considered realistic in nature, was conducted on a smaller scale than what would occur during an actual anthrax attack. In such an event, the central dispensing point would be located at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama.

Every few years, the Jefferson County Health Department conducts a similar event in order to remain prepared for a real disaster. They are graded on their performance by experts from Georgia Tech. The health department considers the drill a success if they are capable of fully distributing the countermeasures within the first 48 hours of reports of a biological weapons release (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Three Day Naval Preparedness Exercise Held Off California Coast
Date: June 18, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: A recent exercise off the coast of Malibu, California, tested how law enforcement would handle a biological or chemical attack that originated offshore.

The three day offshore drill, known as the Coastal Trident Regional Maritime Training Security Exercise, included members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and local law enforcement participating in a variety of scenarios, according to NBCLosAngeles.com.

In one scenario involving chemical weapons, a small motorboat caught the eye of Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Bosket. Boskett, who is assigned to a federal anti-smuggling task force, explained why the boat was raised concerns.

“You’ve got a vessel like this one that’s sitting out here. It’s free-floating,” Boskett said, NBCLosAngeles.com reports. “There’s no anchor. There’s multiple people on board. There’s no fishing poles that are sticking out of it. You’re going to want to identify why that vessel is stopped.”

As part of the scenario, the boat was considered to have been contaminated with mustard agent that terrorists had intended to bring to shore. Their operations backfired, and those onboard were sickened from exposure to the chemical.

The Sheriff’s 55-foot Ocean Rescue 2 was equipped with sensors capable of detecting chemical and biological weapons, so the deputies were able to prepare for what followed. They wore hazmat suits and were armed with assault rifles as they drew up to, but did not board the vessel.

“We had suspects who were injured,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Mick Kelleher, said, NBCLosAngeles.com reports. “We had to (decontaminate) them before we brought them on board to be treated by paramedics.”

In total, nearly 30 local, state and federal agencies are taking part in the exercise. It was planned and created by the Port of Hueneme in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Asymmetric Warfare (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Indianapolis Postal Service Conducts Anthrax Exercise
Date: June 27, 2012
Source: BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The United States Postal Service is preparing its staffers in Indiana to respond to a bioterrorism-related emergency.

The Indianapolis USPS Main Processing and Distribution Center announced that is participating in a major preparedness exercise that will help police, fire and health department workers learn to respond to an anthrax emergency, according to WIBC.com.

USPS Spokesperson Mary Dando said the exercise brings back memories of the 2001 anthrax attacks, when two postal workers lost their lives after handling anthrax-infected letters.

Dando said the post office regularly receives packages containing white powder. They are routinely isolated, tested and examined to determine their origins. She said the best means the USPS has to keep its staffers up-to-date on proper procedures is to conduct mock exercises like the one underway in Indianapolis, WIBC.com reports.

A plan to use postal workers to deliver life-saving medical countermeasures in case of a biological attack is currently being explored by the Cities Readiness Initiative, a federally funded program created in 2004 to help U.S. cities respond to an emergency.

Results from a recent exercise conducted in Minnesota showed that a sizable portion of postal employees would be willing to volunteer for such an assignment. Eighty-percent more postal employees than needed for the region offered to help, according to Philly.com.

There has been no mention of what effect proposed cuts in the USPS workforce could have on the MCM distribution plan (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Michigan Bounty Conducts Anthrax Drill
Date: June 29, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Public health and law enforcement officials in Muskegon County, Michigan, recently conducted a large-scale simulation of an anthrax attack.

Officials said the drill would help them plan for scenarios that include the intentional release of a biological agent or a pandemic influenza outbreak, according to MLive.com.

First responders, who were joined by a number of volunteers, met at the Brookhaven nursing home to practice how medicine received from the Strategic National Stockpile would be distributed to hospitals and care facilities in case of an emergency.

Public Health Muskegon County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Rob Olmstead said that, although the boxes were empty, the exercise would enable the officials to figure where potential kinks in the distribution system are located.

Olmstead said anthrax was chosen because of the short time needed in order to provide effective treatment to the infected. Because of the time it would take to deliver supplies to Muskegon County from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they would probably have less than 24 hours to get the countermeasures into the public’s hands.

“It’s basically the worst-case scenario that we can plan for,” Olmstead said, MLive.com reports.

Health officials have identified more than 50 distribution points in the area that can be used in case of an emergency. For the exercise, 17 sites were included (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Missouri County Holds Bioterrorism Drill
Date: June 29, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Health officials in St. Charles County, Missouri, conducted a bioterrorism drill on Thursday that gave local responders an opportunity to dispense drugs in response to a simulated anthrax attack.

Approximately 12 health departments from the St. Louis metropolitan area participated in the simulation and were struck by temperatures that approached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The drill was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. but was simplified to get people through the drive-through station more rapidly, StlToday.com reports.

At least one person waiting to receive a fake pill bottle that would have held medicine during a real attack was treated for heat-related symptoms by paramedics. Multiple workers participating in the drill also felt sick as a result of the heat.

In an effort to attract the largest crowd possible, drill officials gave out free Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches to the first 500 people who arrived.

The simulation was held in the parking lot of the Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters.

Kathy Wilkinson, a St. Peters resident, said she read about the drill in the newspaper and decided to volunteer. It took her approximately 45 minutes to get to the end of the line.

“It’s a shame this happened on such a hot day, but you never know when terrorism is going to strike,” Wilkinson said, according to StlToday.com (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: WMD Training Comes To Myrtle Beach Area
Date: July 8, 2012
Source:
Myrtle Beach Online

Abstract: If you see something out of the ordinary this week near the South Strand Medical Center, the Conway shooting range, or the Horry County Public Works department, don’t call the authorities. They will most likely already be there for the Weapons of Mass Destruction training taking place this week throughout the Horry County.

Horry County Emergency Management received a grant from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) through the Department of Homeland Security WMD Exercise Grant Program. The grant pays for special training for different emergency response departments across the state for scenarios such as a school shooting, a chemical weapon, and other high risk scenarios.

“The opportunity is tremendous because not only are we able to utilize our resources in the county but include state level teams to coordinate together and work together as they would in a major event,” said Horry County Emergency Management Director Randall Webster. “The positive side of it is allowing all these teams to work together in an exercise so if the time comes down the road to do this for real they already know.”

The training will take place throughout the week from Monday until Friday. It aims to test how prepared the emergency responce units throughout the state are for a disaster. Red Tail Tactical Technology, Inc., will conduct the training.

Horry County Fire Rescue’s Chief of Training Matt Smith was one of the people who worked to bring this training to Myrtle Beach. Smith said this will help each department work out any problems that might arise if something actually did happen.

“What it causes you to do is it causes you to review your current practices and if those practices are working for everyone involved. If you run into an issue in training you can catch on to what’s wrong in real life scenario,” Smith said.

So, what are the specifics of the training? Smith said he couldn’t reveal anymore details.

Departments such as the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), and Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Team will all participate in the training.

Smith said that they have been trying to find money to host this training for a few years.

“We have wanted to do this training and we looked for funding last year but we couldn’t find any funding. We got word there was funding available through SLED and I met with them and showed them what we wanted to do,” Smith said.

Webster says that the intense hands-on training makes this program great.

“One of the bigger better things about this whole exercise is actually doing the training and bringing in resources and personnel with the most up to date techniques and skill sets. They are bringing in things they learned from Afghanistan and Iraq, so we are seeing an issue that the teams may face in real world scenarios instead of just looking at a textbook,” Webster said.

The group asked civilians to participate in the event as well. Smith said they hope to have about 120 volunteers to play doctors, nurses, students, and faculty in the different training exercises (Myrtle Beach Online, 2012)

Title: Postal Workers Participate In Bioterror Drill
Date: July 11, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Throughout the summer, volunteers with the U.S. Postal Service are participating in a pilot bioterrorism program in five cities around the country to prepare for a biological terror attack.

As part of the scenario, police-escorted postal workers will deliver up to two bottles of fake emergency doxycyclene to a total of two million households in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Louisville, San Diego, Boston and Philadelphia. While the bottles of pills will not contain real drugs, the delivery will appear real to prepare local officials for a legitimate terrorist attack, the Washington Post reports.

Three years ago, President Obama issued an executive order to create a model in which postal workers could deliver medication during a widespread biological emergency. The household delivery would prevent the population from panicking and could reduce long lines at medicine distribution centers. The U.S. Postal Service has teamed up with the Department of Health and Human Services, state and local officials and law enforcement agencies to put the $10 million plan into practice.

“Our idea is to get the medicine out there as quickly as we can, so we can help health officials set up other dispensing locations,” Jude Plessas, the manager of the program, said, according to the Washington Post. “We’re using an infrastructure that already exists to help with the local response.”

While mail carriers cannot be forced to be first responders in a bioterrorism incident, hundreds have volunteered and have been trained to participate in the plan. Officials said that in case of a real anthrax attack, the mail carriers could be deployed within hours (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Indiana National Guard Conducts CBRN Training
Date: July 13, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The Medical Element of the 19th CERFP, also called the Indiana National Guard’s Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, will take part in a Joint Patriot exercise on Friday.

The joint Indiana Army and Air National Guard unit will deploy aboard a C-5 from the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute, Ind., to participate in the Volk Field, Wis.-based exercise. The mission of the unit is to respond to man-made and natural disasters, the Brazil Times reports.

“The purpose of the Joint Patriot exercise is to accomplish mission-essential training for CERFP that is not available locally,” Lt. Col. Robert Abbinett Jr., the Medical Element’s officer-in-charge, said, according to the Brazil Times. “The exercise centers on response to a terrorist biological attack, such as a dirty bomb.”

By deploying from the Terre Haute Hulman Field airport, the unit is able travel anywhere in the country quickly and efficiently.

“The 181st plays a key role in CERFP because of its strategic location and well-maintained runways,” Col.  Donald Bonte Jr., a commander from the 181st Intelligence Wing, said, according to the Brazil Times. “We, can bring in transport aircraft whenever the mission dictates. Deploying from the 181st Intelligence Wing improves our ability by providing first-class training opportunities. This mission also demonstrates the Wing’s readiness and reliability in providing support to the local community in times of crisis” (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Alabama National Guard Participates In Bioterror Exercise
Date: July 18, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The Alabama National Guard will take part in the largest domestic convoy in its history on August 5 and August 6 as part of a bioterrorism field training exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

The convey will include approximately 500 vehicles and 1,500 members of the state’s National Guard in transit through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana. The 31st Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Brigade out of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will coordinate the convoy on the way to Vibrant Response 13, a joint exercise involving over 9,000 members of the military, CBS42.com reports.

“We are in close contact with highway officials in all four states,” Capt. Charles B. Priest, a 31st CBRN Brigade logistics officer, said, according to CBS42.com. “Our goal is to arrive safe with minimal disruption.”

Vibrant Response will train the soldiers, marines, airmen and civilians with the Department of Defense to deploy, employ and sustain specialized military response forces to save lives and relieve suffering after a simulated CBRN event.

The Alabama National Guard will be the first Command and Control CBRN Response Element with the National Guard as part of a two year mission starting in the fall. The C2CRE was a role previously filled by active duty military.

“We are excited about our new mission,” Maj. Gen. Perry G. Smith, the Alabama National Guard’s top officer, said, according to CBS42.com. “I have every confidence that our team will perform exceptionally well during the exercise. The fact that we were assigned this mission is a testament to DOD’s faith in the National Guard, particularly in the Alabama National Guard as a leader among guard organizations throughout the nation” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Marines And Army Conduct Joint CBRN Exercise
Date: July 20, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense units from the U.S. Marines and the U.S. Army recently participated in Exercise Joint Force Denial, held in Beaufort, North Carolina.

CBRN specialists from the 2nd Marine Logistics Group collaborated with their U.S. Army equivalents from the 42nd Civil Support Team to search and control a possibly contaminated abandoned school during the exercise.

The marines and army units may have to cooperate with other agencies in case of an emergency, so the training was seen as a good means of testing both units ability to work as a cohesive group.

“We wanted to integrate the Marines with the different services,” Gunnery Sergeant Brian Malcolm, the CBRN chief for Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd MLG, said. “In case of emergencies we can support [the 42nd CST], so we need to know how to work with them. We need to be on the same page with them when working together.”

In extreme heat conditions, the marines, soldiers and an airman safely cleared six rooms in the school together.

Sergeant Steven D. Potts, a Marines CBRN specialist with CLR-27, said that the exercise ran smoothly, in part, because the units share a common knowledge of the equipment they operate, as well as a shared set of military terminology (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Florida Parish Conducts Anthrax Exercise
Date: July 27, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: More than 100 first responders and volunteers recently participated in an anthrax release response drill held in Amite, Florida.

The Tangipahoa Parish Office of Homeland Security organized the exercise, which was funded by a grant acquired through the federal government. Representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were on hand to evaluate the results, according to HammondStar.com.

Tangipahoa President Gordon Burgess said that he wants everyone in the parish to be prepared for a possible pandemic and was pleased with how the exercise played out.

“In the event that we do have such an outbreak, whether it is anthrax or whatever, we want to be prepared as best we can,” Burgess said, HammondStar.com reports. “This small drill is something that we’re hoping never happens in reality. It was just something we needed to do. Hopefully we’ll never need it, but we want to be prepared for it.”

Kevin Davis, the director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said that the exercise was well organized and worthwhile.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to actually deploy and get the folks responsible involved,” Davis said, HammondStar.com reports. “A lot of people ask why we’re doing this, but you always have to be prepared. It’s very important that everybody knows what their roles are” (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Texas Drill Prepares Officials For Bioterrorism
Date: July 27, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: A team of government officials and volunteers worked together during a point of dispensing activation exercise in San Angelo, Texas, this week to prepare for anthrax outbreaks and other health disasters.

A point of dispensing is used to dispense medication or vaccines in the event of a public health emergency like food poisoning, pandemic, plague or anthrax. The point could be used for bioterrorism, accidents or other public health crises, the San Angelo Standard Times reports.

“This was an exercise between the city and Goodfellow Air Force Base and the state health department,” Ron Perry, the director of the San Angelo/Tom Green County Office of Emergency Management, said, according to the San Angelo Standard Times. “We run these scenarios to find areas we are lacking in, to improve our planning. This exercise went really well.”

Health officials could announce POD locations in case of a public health emergency. Medical and vaccine stockpiles are meant to reach every city or rural area within 12 hours and can be dispensed from the POD.

The successful simulation involved cooperation from the Office of Emergency Management, the Community Emergency Response Team, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Goodfellow AFB, the city’s public health department and individual volunteers.

“These are things that are going to happen,” Teresa Covey, the emergency management planning specialist for the Office of Emergency Management, said, according to the San Angelo Standard Times. “It is not a matter of if, but when” (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Terror Drill On Tube Next Month
Date:
August, 2012
Source:
Daily Mail

Abstract:
A major exercise simulating a terrorist strike on London Underground is to take place next month, the Government has announced.

The long-awaited drill was expected to test the emergency services on their reaction to a hypothetical chemical or biological attack on the Tube, with mass evacuations and decontaminations.

It will be staged at Bank station in the City of London on Sunday, September 7.

The area around the station is expected to be turned into a "ghost town" for the exercise, which was first announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett in March but was postponed due to the Iraq war.

"An exercise will be held at Bank Underground station on Sunday, September 7 to allow London's emergency and health services to practise their response to a terrorist attack on the Tube," said a Department of Transport spokeswoman.

"This is one of a number of regular exercises designed to test emergency procedures and equipment carried out in London and across the country.

"It is not a response to a specific threat.

"It will allow organisations to test systems thoroughly, to train frontline responders and to identify possible vulnerabilities.

"Some media access will be given to show the public that plans are in hand and are being thoroughly tested" (Daily Mail, 2012).

Title: MBTA Bioterror Test Begins This Week
Date: August 2, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and scientists will collaborate this week in Boston on the simulation of a biological or chemical terrorist attack.

The federal program will help the scientists to determine how gases would move through the subway tunnels during a bioterror attack. The teams will release and trace the movement of nontoxic, odorless gases as part of the project, WHDH reports.

Boston and Washington D.C. were chosen for the project.

“And we think by studying the oldest system in the U.S. and one of the more modern systems that we can apply broadly the lessons learned that from these experiments to other transit systems across the country,” Teresa Lustig, a representative of the Department of Homeland Security, said, according to WHDH.

While some results from the project will be immediate, the complete results of the simulation will take two to three months to process.

“It takes two to three months to get all the results back,” David Brown, a research scientist, said, according to WHDH. “We have some results immediately, that we use to get just a general feel for how the test is going.”

Testing will continue in the subway tunnels through the end of the week at off-peak hours. Officials hope that first responders will benefit from the information collected.

“Where we are in today’s world we know that transit systems have been attacked by terrorists and this is just another preparedness step to be ready for such an incident and to enhance the overall security,” Lewis Best, the deputy chief of the MBTA transit police, said, according to WHDH (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Wyoming County Prepares For Anthrax Exercise
Date: August 6, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Uinta County, Wyoming, is preparing to hold its annual bioterrorism response drill to be prepared in the event of an anthrax or other biological attack.

The exercise will occur on Wednesday at the Evanston Machine Shop in Evanston. The simulation will involve first responders and volunteers dealing with an anthrax event in Uinta County, the Uinta County Herald reports.

After completing a tabletop exercise based around anthrax in 2010, the county will test setting up a point of distributions to hand out medications to the public. Multiple response agencies will be involved during the event to practice their parts in the bioterror response process.

County officials are recruiting volunteers of all ages to act as individuals requiring medication during the simulated attack, according to the Uinta County Herald.

The Uinta County exercises are meant to practice the worst case scenario to prepare for what officials hope will never happen. The practice sessions allow health officials from different departments to meet each other and work together to be more prepared for an actual bioterror event. By putting hundreds of hours of preparation into each event, the agencies hope to be prepared to handle any incidents that occur and to properly serve the people of the area and the United States (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Military And DOD Take Part In Bioterror Exercise
Date: August 7, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Approximately 5,000 service members and Department of Defense civilian personnel recently took part in the Indiana-based Vibrant Response 13, a national-level field training exercise meant to prepare for a CBRN disaster.

Vibrant Response 13, which occurs at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center and other locations in Indiana in July and August, requires responders to engage in law enforcement, decontamination, route clearing, communications, evacuation, medical care and providing shelter to civilians, Business Insider reports.

The simulation mimics conditions of a chemical, biological, radioactive or nuclear disaster attack. While Vibrant Response 13 implies terrorism, the drill also prepares responders for large scale natural disasters. Sets simulate collapsed structures, crushed vehicles and burning rubble while role actors and mannequins played the injured and the deceased.

As part of the drill, military police escorted survivors of a simulated nuclear blast at a Muscatatuck soccer stadium. They also assisted Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency members in handing out water, food and medical treatment. The drill allows the members of the exercise to grasp the psychological impact that such an event could cause.

The Department of Defense has been holding CBRN response events since the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Vibrant Response is in its 13th year and is one of the major training simulations designed to prepare both the military and the Department of Defense for disasters (BioPrepWatch, 2012)

Title: Kansas National Guard Trains In CBRN Exercise
Date: August 8, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Members of the 73rd Civil Support Team of the Kansas Army and Air National Guard took part in a decontamination training exercise on Monday in Indiana as part of Vibrant Response 13.

The specialists in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response identified, assessed, assisted and provided information to their incident commander during the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Indiana-based event. The 73rd CST acted as part of Joint Task Force Civil Support, Dvidshub.net reports.

“After almost two full days of training, this has exceeded our expectations as an excellent training venue,” Lt. Col. Dirk Christian, the commander of the civil support team, said, according to Dvidshub.net. “The unit completed a lot of collective training events preparing for the Vibrant Response exercise, and it’s all really starting to pay-off.”

The 73rd CST identified potential hazardous substances in three facilities around the training center. After identifying the contaminants, the specialists needed to assess the situation and evacuate nearby civilians.

“While we’re downrange conducting operations, 40 minutes that we spend downrange could save 40 people or it could save 40,000 people,” Christian said, according to Dvidshub.net.

The 73rd CST is available to use its CBRN skills in the event of a natural or man-made disaster for the support of civil authorities. The team will remain in Indiana throughout the rest of the Vibrant Response exercise, which ends later in August (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: West Virginia Holds Mock Anthrax Contamination At Post Office
Date: August 16, 2012
Source:
BioPrepWatch

Abstract: Charleston, West Virginia, conducted a simulation of an anthrax attack at its post office on Tuesday.

“If there’s things we can do better, that’s what we do these drills for because we want to play the way we practice,” Bob Sharp of the Charleston Fire Department said, WSAZ reports. “You know, so today we’re practicing it, and maybe we’ll learn a few things and make it better if the real thing does occur.”

The department conducted business as if it were a real anthrax attack, quarantining contaminated employees and ushering them through showers where they were brushed, rinsed and given a special suit to wear. They were then taken to a hospital by bus, according to WSAZ.

The exercise was tightly controlled and employees participated on a volunteer bases, many understanding well the serious threat of anthrax.

“I just wanted to go ahead and go through the whole procedure, just in case something ever did happen,” postal employee Jerome Hairston said, WSAZ reports. “Since I am a supervisor, I kind of need to know so I can help other people that are going through it.”

“When those attacks happened back in 2001, there were two postal employees that actually died because they came in contact with a letter that was contamination by anthrax,” David Walton, a spokesperson with the postal service, said, according to WSAZ (BioPrepWatch, 2012).

Title: Homeland Security Tests To Begin At T Stops In Cambridge, Somerville
Date: August 27, 2012
Source:
Boston.com

Abstract: The federal government Wednesday will begin releasing bacteria at Red Line MBTA stations in Cambridge and Somerville at set times to test sensors designed to detect biological agents that could be released in a terrorist attack.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said in a press release Monday that the harmless bacteria is non-infectious and the tests will be performed when the stations are closed.

The tests will begin Wednesday and will be held periodically over the next year at the Harvard and Porter Square stations in Cambridge and the Davis Square station in Somerville.

Signs will be posted in the MBTA stations one day before each scheduled test, according to the federal agency.

Biological detection sensors have been installed at the stations and the tests are being conducted in an effort to detect and minimize any impacts from an attack or accident involving hazardous biological materials in a mass transit system.

“A rapid alert from a detection system can locate and identify these materials and provide for immediate and appropriate response to protect people and contain the hazard,” stated DHS scientist Anne Hultgren in the agency's press release.

State and local health officials along with DHS and the MBTA held a public meeting in Cambridge in May to discuss the tests, and said that there was no known threat of a biological attack on subway systems in the Boston area or elsewhere, but the systems are vulnerable to such a strike.

“This detection system will be one of the first such installed in the country, and, if it proves to be effective, could serve as a model for other mass transportation venues throughout the nation and the world,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan in the joint press release Monday.

State health officials will be working with the DHS and MBTA to monitor the results of the tests. According to DHS, the bacteria that will be used is non-infectious and is approved as a food supplement. An environmental assessment of the tests planned for the MBTA stations found no significant impact on human health or the surrounding environment from the use of the testing material (Boston.com, 2012).

Title: Mass Flu Vaccination Drill Also Is Practice For An Emergency
Date: October 2, 2012
Source:
PJStar.com

Abstract: By 7:42 a.m. Tuesday, they were at 62.83 percent.

By 11:05 a.m., staff at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center had vaccinated 63.1 percent of their co-workers against the flu.

That's 3,976 people vaccinated in just less than 30 hours, with 12 more hours to reach all 6,303 St. Francis employees or, at least, as many as possible.

Universal flu vaccines for employees are a priority at St. Francis. Hospital officials say they want to make sure employees don't spread the flu to patients or each other or get it from them.

But St. Francis' "mass influenza immunization drill" was as much practice for a disastrous emergency - think bioterrorism, chemical spill or a deadly virus pandemic - as it was precaution against the flu.

Hospital staff raced against themselves from 6 a.m. Monday to midnight Tuesday, tracking how many employees they could vaccinate in a 42-hour period.

"The flu vaccine is our medium, but we could use anything," said Troy Erbentraut, manager of disaster preparedness at St. Francis. "It's important to see how fast we can vaccinate or medicate our staff."

In an anthrax scare, for instance, St. Francis staff would have to give antibiotics to employees and the public as quickly as possible.

Flu vaccination stations were set up in the employee health department and at nine other St. Francis sites outside of the main hospital. In some units, they relied on peer vaccinations, or qualified staff vaccinating one another. Four mobile vaccination units roamed the main hospital, catching employees at entrances, exits and other locations.

But the incident command center, located in a small, out-of-the-way room on St. Francis' first floor, was the heart of the immunization drill.

The command team, led by incident commander Lori Wiegand, St. Francis' chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care, met every two hours Monday and every four hours Tuesday. Together, they sifted through computerized data, looking for departments where vaccinations were high or low, monitoring supply levels and trouble-shooting problems as they arose.

St. Francis has used the command-team concept to deal with real-life problems in the past. On the Groundhog Day blizzard of 2011, the team stayed at the hospital overnight, handling arrangements to assure enough employees could get to work. They also made tough decisions during the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009, deciding who would get vaccines, who would get masks and setting up a special clinic.

By 6 p.m. Tuesday, with six hours to go, the team had lowered the total number of employees from 6,303 to 6,293. The original number had not included employees off on family medical leave.

They had raised the number of employees vaccinated to 4,583, or 72.8 percent. That meant 607 more employees vaccinated since 11:05 a.m. - but 1,710 more to go to get to 100 percent by midnight.

The team will meet Friday to compile a final tally of the number of employees vaccinated during the drill (PJStar.com, 2012).