Philadelphia post office holds biohazard detection drill

The U.S. Postal Service in Philadelphia recently underwent a major test of its Biohazard Detection System response plan.

Local, state and federal first responders participated in the two hour drill at the U.S. Postal Service's Philadelphia Mail Processing and Distribution Center, located in the Southwest portion of the city, according to

"Communication is the key, especially in emergency situations," Reginald Wade, a postal inspector with the Philadelphia division of the U.S. Postal Inspections Service, said, reports. "Every single mail piece is run through the Biohazard Detection System and in the event that the presence of anthrax was found, then the BDS alarm would go off and that's when everybody would respond. And everything we are doing in the drill today would then become a reality."

Wade noted that similar BDS systems have been installed in post offices throughout the United States. He said the drills are routinely held to ensure that workers are always ready, according to

Since the anthrax attacks of 2001, the postal service has become increasingly vigilant about potential biohazards being sent through its facilities. In 2001, U.S. Army scientist Bruce Ivins allegedly sent letters containing anthrax spores to several media outlets and politicians. The attacks killed five people and infected 17 others.