Texas drill prepares officials for bioterrorism

A team of government officials and volunteers worked together during a point of dispensing activation exercise in San Angelo, Texas, this week to prepare for anthrax outbreaks and other health disasters.

A point of dispensing is used to dispense medication or vaccines in the event of a public health emergency like food poisoning, pandemic, plague or anthrax. The point could be used for bioterrorism, accidents or other public health crises, the San Angelo Standard Times reports.

"This was an exercise between the city and Goodfellow Air Force Base and the state health department," Ron Perry, the director of the San Angelo/Tom Green County Office of Emergency Management, said, according to the San Angelo Standard Times. "We run these scenarios to find areas we are lacking in, to improve our planning. This exercise went really well."

Health officials could announce POD locations in case of a public health emergency. Medical and vaccine stockpiles are meant to reach every city or rural area within 12 hours and can be dispensed from the POD.

The successful simulation involved cooperation from the Office of Emergency Management, the Community Emergency Response Team, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Goodfellow AFB, the city's public health department and individual volunteers.

"These are things that are going to happen," Teresa Covey, the emergency management planning specialist for the Office of Emergency Management, said, according to the San Angelo Standard Times. "It is not a matter of if, but when."