Anthrax attack simulation planned for Arizona

An emergency response exercise simulating an attack using anthrax is scheduled for April 2 in Gilbert, Arizona.

The current plan calls for a “Point of Distribution Drive-Through Exercise” to be conducted at a local high school. The strength and completeness of county and town planning for a terrorist attack will be tested, according to

Maricopa County, the town of Gilbert and Gilbert Public Schools are calling for 200 to 250 volunteers to participate in the exercise. The volunteers will be expected to make several trips through dispensing lines in order to simulate crowds coming to the site to receive medicine for their families.

Although this scenario regards anthrax specifically, the system being tested would be appropriate for use with other biological disasters, from avian flu to any another kind of terrorist attack where a rapid dispersal of a vaccine would be needed to ensure public safety, reports.

Previous planning methods have used public facilities, but the drive-through approach is relatively new. It came about as a response to fears that people would form crowds at dispensary points at a time when avoiding contagion would be absolutely necessary.

A similar exercise utilizing the help of 300 volunteers was recently conducted in Columbia County, Georgia, at the end of January.