Fort Rucker base simulates bioattack

The U.S. Army’s Fort Rucker, located in Alabama, recently conducted an annual force protection exercise aimed at preparing the installation for a potential biological attack.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. on March 15, military police received a call concerning a suspicious white powder coming from a package at one of the fort’s outlying buildings, according to Army.mil.

Soon after, the fire department was called and a hazardous materials team began to sweep the area for dangers. Office personnel were effectively isolated and decontaminated while the firefighters practiced entering the building.

Soon after, a simulated explosion trapped several people inside and caused mass casualties. Both fatalities and injuries were collected and taken to surrounding hospitals, Michael Whittaker, the Installation Antiterrorism Officer, told Army.mil.

Whittaker said that the exercise brought together many groups and units to conduct critical training.

"Everyone worked real hard," Whittaker said, according to Army.mil. "There will always be some crossed wires, but we worked well as a team.

"No one knew how bad the building was damaged and they were not going to put additional personnel inside. It's a work in progress, every time you go somewhere like this you never know what you're going to find."

Shane Brown, Fort Rucker’s assistant fire chief, was pleased with the results of the exercise.

"The department trains constantly on incidents such as this one," Brown told Army.mil. “Everyone followed protocol and was efficient."

Officials will now review the exercise action reports to see what improvements can be made.