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Bio-Terror Drills

BIOTERRORBIBLE.COM: The city of Chicago, probably more than any other city in America, has been drilling its citizens as well as local, state and federal law enforcement and emergency responders for a major bio-terror attack. Since mid-2011, the drills have occurred at greater frequency and have often involved the U.S. military. It is quite possible that the Chicago area could be a staging ground for a massive bio-terror attack which would definitely have Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's signature all over it. After all, practice makes perfect. The city of Chicago is also one of 21 cities NOT at risk for elimination from the Cities Readiness Initiative (meaning that Chicago is "ready" for bio-terrorism).  

Title: Chicago, Seattle Plan Drills To Test Terror Preparedness
Date: May 2, 2003
Source: UCLA

Abstract: On Mother's Day weekend, terrorists will spray unseen germs over Chicago airports, infecting thousands with a lethal pneumonia, while their counterparts in Seattle prepare to detonate a dirty bomb.

The Seattle bomb, exploding between Tully's Coffee shop and the Rainier Brewery on Interstate 5, will lead to overturned cars, buses and container vans in the five-acre blast zone.

But the principal role of the bomb, set to explode a day or so after the germs are released, will be to divert the nation's attention and resources from the deadlier act of the game: effects of Chicago's airborne bacterial cloud that will start to bring patients into the hospital.

Fortunately, it will all be an exercise, part of a national bioterror drill sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the drill, called TopOff2, is to give health workers and agencies practice responding to a terror attack, and to assess readiness, uncover planning gaps and remedy them.

Tens of thousands of Chicagoans are expected to participate in TopOff2, says Patrick Finnegan, director of clinical, administrative, professional and emergency services of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a group of more than 140 area hospitals. More than 1,200 volunteers from high schools and senior centers have signed up to act as victims pouring into emergency rooms. Another 2,600 paper victims will be faxed into hospitals for virtual treatment. Every Illinois hospital is expected to participate, either in the physical drill or tabletop exercise.

The drill is the sequel to TopOff1, in which a simulated aerosol plague attack in a Denver concert hall in May 2000 led to an estimated 4,000 sick and 2,000 dead in four days. Organizers say the point of such drills isn't to forecast casualties but to improve preparedness for a bioterror attack.

Margaret Hamburg, a former Clinton administration official who is now a bioterror expert with the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative, says such drills force leaders to sharpen their decision-making and untangle lines of authority. "Somebody has to be in charge," she says.

As an added bonus, such drills might further hone the country's readiness for natural disease outbreaks such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, now challenging a number of countries from China to Canada.

In TopOff2, the mist of plague bacteria will be released at five Chicago sites, including O'Hare and Midway airports. Pneumonic plague -- which results when the germ causing bubonic plague is inhaled -- is highly contagious. But because the symptoms can initially resemble other diseases, the infection can spread rapidly before health officials realize the problem on their hands.

After inhaling the germs over the weekend, the pretend victims will develop fever and chills, head and body aches, in one to three days. Breathing becomes labored. Death ensues quickly if the antibiotic treatment -- preferably streptomycin -- isn't begun within 18 to 24 hours of exposure.

"The first patients will develop respiratory symptoms and victims will start arriving in the hospitals," says James C. Hagen, deputy executive director of the DuPage County Health Department in suburban Wheaton, Ill., one site of the drill.

The true diagnosis may take a day to confirm. By the time tests are complete, the first wave of mock victims could be dead. Sparing the second wave a similar fate will depend upon several real-time computer systems being tested by participating hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Once the news is out, mock television crews under the logo VNN, for Virtual News Network, will cover the attack as if it were real. Law-enforcement officers will close in on the scene of the crime. "There will be a possible 'takedown' of the site of suspected terrorists growing the [germs] on either Thursday, May 15, or Friday, May 16," says Dr. Hagen.

It isn't known where the mock terror lab is located, and authorities wouldn't say whether actors would be enlisted as "terrorists." However, Canadian authorities are slated for a role in TopOff2, giving the drill international scope.

TopOff2 won't be a perfect simulation, because the players know the ultimate diagnosis ahead of time. People acting as victims must sign a consent and release form stating: "I understand that as a participant in the mock disaster drill, I may have makeup applied so as to look like a disaster victim; may have my clothing soiled or torn; and may be transported by stretcher [or] wheelchair."

The participants are coached on what symptoms to display -- all according to a script by Mr. Finnegan's group and Illinois poison-control experts, who jointly wrote the scenario.

Likewise, doctors and other health workers at hospitals know roughly when the game will begin and what germ their tests will disclose. But they must play according to the script, and await test results before beginning treatment, rather than leap into premature diagnoses or actions.

"The way scenarios are written, they may not find out [the plague diagnosis] for 12 hours," Mr. Finnegan says. During that time, by following normal procedures, hospitals will make errors that spread the disease, as the first wave of patients is sent through normal channels to such venues as the emergency room, and on to the laboratory for tests and X-rays -- exposing other patients and staff on their way.

Once the diagnosis is made, the real test begins. Says Mr. Finnegan: "Now, what do they do with the other patients who have been exposed?"

Saturation ensues swiftly, if past simulations are any guide -- and seeing how hospitals handle that saturation is one of the key ways that the drill will test and evaluate the public-health infrastructure. "A number of hospitals are going to be overloaded very quickly," Mr. Finnegan predicts, triggering hospital closure, ambulance diversions and patient transfers. The goal is to see how hospitals perform under maximum stress.

No special drugs or protective suits have been purchased for the Chicago drill. Hospitals will use protective clothing they have on hand. But the government will activate the National Strategic Stockpile, flying in a crate of supplies, "to see how long it takes to break it down and dispense it," says Mr. Finnegan.

TopOff2 is the only drill planned for 2003, Mr. Finnegan says, adding that "there's not enough Prozac" to sustain staff for more such games.

Actors will be identified by their Top Off T-shirts, and hospitals will post signs and make announcements to reassure real patients. Vows Mr. Finnegan: "Normal patient care is not going to be affected." In Seattle, students at an elementary school near the site where the mock bomb will explode have been briefed and shown the protective suits workers will use.

Drill organizers also say they won't be dropping their guard in terms of defending against real terrorist attacks during the drill. For security reasons, Chicago is only using actor-patients specifically recruited from certain high schools and senior centers, rather than using any volunteers or walk-ons from elsewhere. Officials won't disclose what other security measures they are taking.

The total budget for the TopOff2 exercise is $16 million, coming from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness, and the Department of State's coordinator for counterterrorism. Of that, $5 million will be given directly to the states of Illinois and Washington.

Simply going through the drill will help health workers train for a real event. But Dr. Hamburg, a veteran of the Dark Winter smallpox drill and other simulations, warns against too slick or transparent a scenario.

"I've participated in some exercises that were too easy," she says, citing one scenario in which a terrorist unleashed infected plague rats in a football arena, a janitor found the box by half-time, and the tests were done by game's end. Too easy, says Dr. Hamburg.

"Probably in the real world there would have been no clue until people started to get sick," she says. "Such games give you a false sense of omnipotence."

Dr. Hagen of DuPage County says that despite such drills, it is hard to know what would happen in a real terrorist attack. "Will people storm the medical facilities?" he wonders. "Or will they stay quietly at home? No one really knows" (UCLA, 2003).

Title: Bioterror Drill Exposes Flaws In Response Plans
Date: December, 2003
Source: Greeley

Abstract: A federal study found that a bioterrorism drill conducted in May by the Department of Homeland Security revealed communications problems and confusion among emergency workers, the Associated Press reports.

The drill began in Seattle with the simulated detonation of a radioactive "dirty bomb" and ended in Chicago four days later with a raid on a fictional terrorist group responsible for the problems. Homeland Security officials released a 15-page summary of the drill's results, noting that crews in Seattle had difficulty determining where the radiological contamination had spread. This is important for evacuating and treating people in a real emergency.

The Chicago drill focused on the response to a deadly plague released in the city, but the exercise illustrated a serious shortage of medical supplies and hospital rooms. The report considered the drill a success as a learning experience for response agencies.

The report found that communications issues led to delays in deciding whether to raise an area's threat level, declare an emergency, or reopen public transportation systems. In the field, incident commanders made quick decisions, often assuming the affected area was larger than it actually was.

The exercise cost $16 million and involved more than 8,500 people from 100 federal, state, and local agencies, the American Red Cross, and the Canadian government (Greeley, 2003)

Title: Hoffman Estates Seeks Volunteers For Bioterrorism Drill
Date: May 9, 2008
Source: Chicago Tribune

Abstract: Hoffman Estates officials are looking for 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers next week to participate in a public-health exercise in return for department store coupons and tickets to an indoor football game.

The volunteers are needed for a large-scale drill, planned for Tuesday at the Sears Centre arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy., to test how medicine would be distributed to victims of bioterrorism or an epidemic, said David Christensen, emergency management agency coordinator in Hoffman Estates (Chicago Tribune, 2008).

Title: Big [Bio-Terror] Public-Health Drill Has Small Turnout In Hoffman Estates
Date:
May 14, 2008
Source:
Chicago Tribune

Abstract: An elaborate public-health drill Tuesday that organizers had hoped would use thousands of volunteers to help test the Chicago area's response to a possible bioterrorism attack instead drew fewer than 350 people -- and one beleaguered Cook County Board president.

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Todd Stroger, who has been criticized in recent months by some northwest suburban officials for pushing through a county sales-tax increase, made an appearance at the drill in the Sears Centre arena in Hoffman Estates, albeit 10 minutes after the training exercise ended.

"This visit was just really to be a part of the many things the county does," Stroger said.

The drill, coordinated by the county's Department of Public Health, was intended to test how quickly more than 300 emergency personnel from 25 communities in the north and northwest suburbs could distribute medicine in the event of a health threat.

For four hours, the arena was converted into a giant pharmacy and medical center, where volunteers learned to register patients, screen them for possible side effects from medication and distribute pills that would be needed to treat an epidemic or act of bioterrorism.

Organizers had hoped that 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers would participate in the drill.

Though the turnout was disappointing, Hoffman Estates officials said they were pleased to see Stroger paying a visit to the northwest suburbs.

The exercise, estimated to cost $80,000, was mandated and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has called for health departments nationwide to coordinate drills since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Emergency personnel also staffed a practice command center in Barrington, where they simulated the phone calls and coordination that would have been needed to get medicine to 16 other sites in the north and northwest suburbs. The drill was the largest combined exercise the county's health department has ever orchestrated, said Kitty Loewy, a department spokeswoman (Chicago Tribune, 2008).

Title:
Emergency Drills May Close Chicago-Area Roads
Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
Chicago Breaking News Center

Abstract: A massive emergency response exercise is scheduled for the Chicago area beginning Sunday.

The practice events spread over five days will include a simulated commercial airplane crash, a simulated rail-car evacuation and a simulated terrorist attack.

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Road closures and detours are possible in the Chicago area.
"It is a full-scale exercise, so residents can expect to see emergency responders looking and acting as if this was a real homeland security/domestic response mission," the Illinois Army and Air National Guard said in a press release.

The exercise will begin Sunday with a simulated jetliner crash in southwest suburban Oak Lawn, "with debris and mass casualties scattered throughout the area," said Maj. Gen. William Enyart of the Illinois National Guard.
Toyota Park in Bridgeview will be the staging area for the Guard starting Monday. Also, Chicago's Office of Emergency Management will practice setting up a remote command center at Soldier Field to handle a large-scale disaster.

On Tuesday, a simulated meth lab will be raided on Green and York Streets in Bensenville.

On Wednesday, Bensenville area also will be the site of numerous simulated terrorist attacks "including takedowns of suspected terrorists," simulated building collapses with trapped victims  and mass decontamination and medical care by the National Guard.

At the same time, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will receive "suspected biological agent patients to decontaminate and medically evaluate."

On Wednesday evening, the CTA will stage a rail-car evacuation SWAT incident at 15th and Clark streets. Chicago police K-9 units will detect "simulated explosives manufactured by a terrorist group on a CTA train." A simulated explosion will occur from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. There will be road closings in the area.

On Thursday there will be another takedown situation in the Bensenville area and a simulated chemical explosion at the Nalco Co. plant at 6233 W. 66th St. in Chicago.

The Illinois National Guard says more than 50 local, state, federal and private agencies will participate in the drill to learn how to respond to disasters.

The five-day training exercise will run from Sunday through Thursday, June 17 (Chicago Breaking News Center, 2010).

Title
:
Massive Emergency Drills Planned In Chicago, Oak Lawn, Bridgeview, Elk Grove Village And Bensenville
Date:
June 9, 2010

Source:
Fox News

Abstract: Imagine a bomb blast, a plane crash, a hazardous materials spill and a CTA derailment, all in the same week. That's the set-up for a massive joint training exercise that's set to start Sunday. The drill is designed to stretch first responders to the breaking point. Dozens of local, state and federal agencies will respond, and seven hospitals will be ready for casualties. Anyone who sees the drill might think it's the real thing; Oak Lawn Police Lt. Arthur Clark says it will be very realistic.

"People who live in buildings across the street when they look out their window will see over 300 first responders and over 50 pieces of fire and emergency equipment," he said. "They're going to see people who will be simulated injured." And that's just for starters. At least seven different scenarios will play through Thursday in Oak Lawn, Bridgeview, Elk Grove Village, Bensenville and in Chicago. One event will be at Soldier Field, another will take place on a stretch of CTA track at 15th Street.

There are bound to be traffic tie-ups, and frightening scenes of survivors and victims. So if you see one, remember this story before you call 911. About 1500 people will be part of this. The folks putting this together say it's one of the biggest exercises ever coordinated in our area. Volunteers from Great Lakes Naval base will play the injured. Mannequins will play the fatalities, and they're being dressed for the occasion by the Salvation Army stores
(Fox News, 2010).

Title: Chicago Tests CBRN Response Teams
Date: June 15, 2010
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: Emergency response teams in Chicago are testing their skills this week to see how well they respond to different types of disasters, according to a myfoxchicago.com news report.

As part of the weeklong program, a mock terrorist attack will be held requiring emergency response teams to neutralize a terrorist during a chemical weapons release. Additionally, the emergency workers will have to attend to contaminated victims that must be rushed to nearby medical facilities.

The tests started on Sunday when firefighters responded to a mock plane crash. According to officials, fires were set and nearly 200 dummies and actors were scattered about as firefighters and rescue workers responded to the scene.

“It gives you a sense of realism. It gives you a sense of chaos the burning would give you,” Illinois National Guardsman Captain Greg Hertz told MyFoxChicago.com. “So the smoke does come out and while we realize the fire on a plane would be much larger than that, it gives a sense of realism to the responders.”

Hertz was among those who helped plan the series of training exercises.

Hertz also told myfoxchicago.com that on Thursday there will be a simulated explosion at the Nalco plant on Chicago’s west side.

The drills, he said, are designed to test the ability of participating agencies.

“All responses are local and we understand that and the locals handle the responses in the way they deem necessary,” Hertz said. “But what everybody needs is resources. And what becomes complicated in all this is how do I apportion resources to the appropriate venues” (Bio Prep Watch, 2010).

Title: North Chicago City Simulates Chemical Attack
Date: March 29, 2010
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: The Rapid Deployment Response Team of the Zion, Illinois Police Department was faced with a simulated chemical attack last Friday within the city’s Central Middle School.

The drill, part of a yearly Illinois Terrorism Task Force mandated exercise, required local first responders and military companies to coordinate their response to the attack.

"In a crisis, military and city agencies form a cohesive emergency team that will protect the citizens of Zion," Police Chief Wayne Brooks told SuburbanChicagoNews.com

Injured students in the simulation – played by members of the Great Lakes Naval Corps School – wore makeup to simulated the effects of a chemical attack, including skin falling off and open sores oozing blood.

A chemical wash down to decontaminate the wounded was set up that included medical personnel in full chemical suits.

"From my perspective this is just first rate, phenomenal," Zion Mayor Lane Harrison told SuburbanChicagoNews.com. "I’m just really impressed to know we are officially prepared."

This is the second time such a training project has been held in North Chicago, with the previous event simulated at the college of Lake County.

Participants in the simulation included the 472nd Chemical Battalion, the 379th Chemical Company, a platoon from the 342nd Chemical Company’s Biological Integrated Detection System and the 1171st Area Support Medical Company as well as camouflaged army reservists.

The responders utilized several $1.5 million vehicles equipped to detect the air for toxins within a five-mile radius.

"We are set up to detect any biological attack," Capt. Peter Holloway said.

Exercises were held in seven locations around the city besides the school (Bio Prep Watch).

Title: Army Set For Large Disaster Response Exercise
Date: June 23, 2011
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: A large disaster response exercise planned by U.S. Army North will take place throughout southern Indiana and northern Kentucky between August 16 and August 28 to train federal military forces for CBRN incidents.

The Vibrant Response 12 and 12A planning conference in Camp Atterbury, Ind., on June 23 was the last chance for those planning the exercise to assemble. The event, which is the fourth field training event in the Vibrant Response series, will help federal forces train in their role in supporting civilian consequent managers in response to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

The 5,200 person Defense CBRN Response Force replaces the 4,500 person CBRN Consequence Management Response Force. It is designed to faster provide more life-saving capability to an incident.

“We have forged a strong training partnership with the Indiana National Guard and the people who run Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex,” Paul Condon, Army North’s lead Vibrant Response exercise planner, said. “We’ve worked with them to add several new venues at both Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in order to accommodate the larger DCRF.”

Organizations participating in the exercise include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Fort Knox Fire Department, the Army’s 9th Area Medical Laboratory, National Guard elements from California, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Minnesota and Illinois, and Verizon Wireless.

“Verizon will be using Vibrant Response to train their crews to repair equipment in a contaminated environment,” Clark Wigley, the Army North joint exercise planner, said. “They also are providing some of their mock equipment for the military to transport.”

The DCRF and the similar Command and Control CBRN Response Element A group were created as part of the Department of Defense’s transformation of the nation’s tiered CBRN response enterprise. The units will assume their mission Oct. 1 (Bio Prep Watch, 2011).

Title: Army Reserve Tests CBRN Preparedness
Date: June 24, 2011
Source:
Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: Army Reserve units have joined forces with emergency responders fin five states to participate in the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear consequence drill known as Exercise Red Dragon 2011.

The exercise began in 2000 in an effort to develop, train and assess the capabilities of Army Reserve forces to be used in the Defense Support of Civilian Authorities. Over 2,000 participants were involved in the drill, which is directed by the Army Reserve Command.

“This year’s exercise involves over 2,000 chemical, medical, logistics and signal Soldiers over several states,” Col. Patricia Carlson, commander of the 415th Chemical Brigade, said. “Our support and our soldiers conducting this exercise come from throughout the United States.”

Red Dragon 11 was conducted in Alabama, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and Wisconsin. The exercises prepared soldiers to assist local authorities with large scale disaster that they would not be able to handle on their own.

“The Red Dragon exercise is important because it will give the civilian sector an opportunity to work with Reserve units so we may be able to work together as one unit,” Mary Casey-Lockyer, an emergency preparedness and response coordinator for Northwest Hospital in Arlington Heights, Ill., said.

Soldiers acted as casualties to aid the emergency responders with their preparedness training. Units of the Army Reserve train to maintain a high level of preparedness since they can be called at anytime to serve the nation in a civil or combat capacity.

“This exercise is important because it gives Army Reservist and civilian emergency responders an opportunity to unify and work together in the event of any type of catastrophe,” Lt. Col. Timothy Dawson, the commander of the 472nd Chemical Battalion, said. “Preparedness is not just for us, it is for the communities as well" (Bio Prep Watch, 2011).

Title: Army Set For Large CBRN Disaster Response Exercise
Date: June 29, 2011
Source: Bio Prep Watch

Abstract: A large disaster response exercise planned by U.S. Army North will take place throughout southern Indiana and northern Kentucky between August 16 and August 28 to train federal military forces for CBRN incidents.

The Vibrant Response 12 and 12A planning conference in Camp Atterbury, Ind., on June 23 was the last chance for those planning the exercise to assemble. The event, which is the fourth field training event in the Vibrant Response series, will help federal forces train in their role in supporting civilian consequent managers in response to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents.

The 5,200 person Defense CBRN Response Force replaces the 4,500 person CBRN Consequence Management Response Force. It is designed to faster provide more life-saving capability to an incident.

“We have forged a strong training partnership with the Indiana National Guard and the people who run Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex,” Paul Condon, Army North’s lead Vibrant Response exercise planner, said. “We’ve worked with them to add several new venues at both Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex in order to accommodate the larger DCRF.”

Organizations participating in the exercise include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Fort Knox Fire Department, the Army’s 9th Area Medical Laboratory, National Guard elements from California, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Minnesota and Illinois, and Verizon Wireless.

“Verizon will be using Vibrant Response to train their crews to repair equipment in a contaminated environment,” Clark Wigley, the Army North joint exercise planner, said. “They also are providing some of their mock equipment for the military to transport.”

The DCRF and the similar Command and Control CBRN Response Element A group were created as part of the Department of Defense’s transformation of the nation’s tiered CBRN response enterprise. The units will assume their mission Oct. 1 (Bio Prep Watch, 2011).

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: Bio-Terror Attack Drills In St. Louis [Illinois]
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: 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.

"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.

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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: 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: 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).