Virginia city simulates anthrax attack

A training exercise took place on Monday at George C. Round Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia, that simulated the release of anthrax spores from between the pages of the Washington Post.

The school acted as a point of dispensing site to disburse simulated medications to close to half a million residents in Prince William County, Manassas Park and Manassas. Local officials believed said that the annual event was a success with an organized response setting and fast-moving lines, Inside Nova reports.

“I thought it ran rather smoothly, actually,” Blake Leggett, a Nokesville resident and a volunteer who acted as a resident in need of medicine for the scenario, said, according to Inside Nova. “My concern is it really wouldn’t run that smoothly in reality. You have to think that a lot of the people who participated in this are all aware of the [emergency response] process … so in a real situation, you would have to add some time to it.”

If the attack was genuine, responders would have relied on governmental public relations and media officials to spread the word about basic response needs, including what the attack involved and where to go. There would be multiple POD sites in a real scenario and only one family member would need to report to a POD.

Coordination and planning for the event began six months ago.

“I see this as a real opportunity for us to work with the entire community,” Sandy Thompson, supervisor of administrative services for Manassas City Public Schools, said, according to Inside Nova. “These emergencies could really happen, and we just need to be prepared.”