Sioux City, Iowa stages bioterror simulation

Sioux City, Iowa might not be the most likely target for a bioterror attack, its officials say, but knowing how to respond to such an emergency if it happens is important.

The city, located in western Iowa, held a simulated bioterror event to test its emergency preparedness.

It's not out of the question that Sioux City could be the target of an attack, experts warn, as many trains and semis bring a large amount of chemical agents into the city. The drill, according to experts, also prepared workers for the event of a chemical spill.

"There was a concert here at the Tyson Center and during the end something was released into the environment," Emergency Management Director Gary Brown told KTIV of the simulation. "It's good to get the troops together to see how we can handle a mass casualty situation."

Approximately 130 students from local high schools and colleges were used as injured civilians in the simulated attack, which took place at the Tyson Center, which holds 11,000 people.

Cards were distributed to students to inform them of the symptoms they will act out. Firefighters on the scene were tasked with triaging the injured and treating those who were most seriously injured. Victims were then sent to area hospitals for quarantining and treatment.

"It's a chance for everybody to practice all the skills and the training that they have put together, it's very rare that actual big sized disaster actually happen and so you have to do this practice so that everybody is ready," Dr. Ed Bottei of the Iowa Statewide Poison Center told KTIV.