Bioattack drill held in N.C.

Safety officials in North Carolina participated last week in a drill meant to simulate the opening of an powder-laced package at the Rocky Mount Water Treatment Plant, according to the Rocky Mount Telegram.

“The exercise was based on experiences and actual calls we’ve had in the past in Rocky Mount and in the county, which prompted us to develop this plan,” Nash County Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator Brent Fisher told the newspaper. “Now that plan is in place, if something happened, we’d have something universal that all responding agencies can use as a guide. We know how to get the ball rolling and even have a checklist to make sure everything is done.”

The drill was funded through a $35,000 federal grant, the newspaper states.

In the drill, Fisher told the newspaper, fire cadets from a local community college acting as employees at the treatment plant opened a package laced with an unknown powdery substance. Safety officials from local fire departments, health departments and elsewhere in the region participated in the exercise.

“These types of exercises allow the responding agencies to build reputations among other agencies so when an incident takes place, responders are not meeting other responders for the first time,” Fisher told the Rocky Mount Telegram. “It allowed us to know what each agencies’ roles and responsibilities are and how when we work together we can accomplish the task that needs to be completed to mitigate the situation and to provide help to those who need it.”