Peoria County postal workers train to respond to anthrax

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employees in Peoria, Illinois, trained on Tuesday to respond to emergencies, including the discovery of anthrax in a letter.

This year's version of the annual drill simulated the discovery of anthrax by a biohazard detection system in Peoria's State Street post office, Journal Star reports.

"Preparedness is the answer for these situations," Michael Clark, the supervisor of customer support finance for USPS, said, according to Journal Star.

Customers were allowed to continue standing in line during the drill as emergency crews assumed stations around the facility. Alarms sounded in the mail room and postal employees were ushered outside for a head count and simulated decontamination.

Police, firefighters and other emergency personnel set up a perimeter while a decontamination truck parked behind the post office. Employees were briefed on what the process of decontamination would be like if anthrax actually were detected. Following decontamination, they would be brought to a separate warehouse to receive medication distributed by the Peoria County Health Department.

The Illinois Department of Transportation, Peoria County Sheriff's Office and the Peoria County Health Department also took part in the drill, Journal Star reports.

"It's very helpful, I believe, to have this done and to know what we're in for," Janetta Rose, a USPS employee, said, according to Journal Star.