Kansas county health department simulates anthrax attack

The Finney County Health Department recently held an anthrax attack simulation in Garden City, Kansas, to help train area public safety agencies in emergency management.

During the simulation, Garden City police officers, firefighters, state and county emergency management personnel and emergency medical technicians responded to an emergency call saying that a group of students had found an envelope filled with white powder, according to GCTelegram.com.

With temperatures hovering near 100 degrees, the first responders acted immediately. Firefighters wearing hazmat suits evacuated volunteer victims from the building and began decontaminating them. Police officers cordoned off the area to prevent curious bystanders from being hurt. Ambulances began taking anthrax stricken victims to the emergency room of a local hospital. All of the 42 people present at the scene were considered to be casualties.

"It was the health department's first exercise that involved all the area public safety agencies," Ashley Goss, a FCHD administrator, said, GCTelegram.com reports. "We found a lot of pluses, a lot of places where we have done well. And we have noted areas in which we can improve. It was a very successful exercise.

"We had a first responder who did have a problem. It was heat-related."

The heat casualty was treated quickly and no other major problems were reported. Goss noted, however, the need for continuous communication among all agencies responding to emergencies.