New Jersey holds anthrax attack simulation

Officials from several New Jersey counties came together for what was called the “4077 POD Exercise” that simulated a hurricane, pandemic flu and anthrax situation.

The drill took place at Morris County’s Craigmeur Recreation Complex and brought together members of health departments from Sussex, Passaic, Morris and Warren counties; health departments from Paterson, Denville, West Milford, Lincoln Park and Washington Township; and members of Medical Reserve Corps and Community Emergency Response Teams, Chatham Patch reports.

In the scenario, a white powder identified as anthrax was found in an emergency room and at a shelter and a vaccine clinic was converted to a mass distribution clinic to protect residents of the shelter from anthrax.

“This is the side of public health that no one sees,” Herbert Yardley, a Sussex County health officer said, according to Chatham Patch.

One hundred members of the groups acted as storm victims and more than 100 responders performed the vaccinations and other treatments. The goal was to vaccinate all 100 victims in 60 minutes. Some of the victims were instructed to act in a manner that could slow or disrupt the procedure to give it a more realistic feel.

The drill tested the agencies’ ability to get distribution sites up and running within 12 hours because the federal Centers for Disease Control has the ability to deliver medicine to any point in the country within 12 hours. Planning for the drill began in December.