Wisconsin post office simulates anthrax attack

Dozens of postal employees and first responders in Wisconsin recently took part in an emergency drill designed to prepare them for the eventuality of dealing with a biohazard found in a piece of mail.

The exercise took place at the John W. Byrnes Main Post Office in Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to GreenBayPressGazette.com. It simulated a situation in which anthrax or another dangerous substance was detected in one of the 700,000 pieces of mail that flow through the facility every day.

"In an actual emergency, there would be no time to huddle up and plan what to do, so we conduct exercises like this," David Siegel, the assistant team leader for training for the Brown County Hazardous Materials Response Team, said, according to GreenBayPressGazette.com.

Postal employees, as well as members of the Green Bay Fire Department, Brown County Health Department, Green Bay Metro Transit and the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, followed the steps they would go through if a biohazard alarm were triggered.

The participants were taken through the decontamination process and were then taken for medical examinations while emergency crews checked on the building's ventilation system.

These exercises are held every three years at the six regional mail-processing facilities located in Wisconsin and part of Michigan. Milwaukee conducted a similar drill last year, GreenBayPressGazette.com reports.

The Green Bay facility managed to stay open during the entire two-and-a-half hour process. Signs helped to explain the presence of emergency crews.

"Clearly we hope to never need to respond to an emergency such as this but we believe that good preparation can provide opportunities to improve our emergency planning," Jeff Grendziak, plant manager at the Green Bay facility, said, according to GreenBayPressGazette.com.