Arizona high school to simulate anthrax attack

A Phoenix high school plans to host an emergency preparedness drill that will simulate a bioterrorist attack using anthrax.

Approximately 300 volunteers will be needed to test point-of-distribution plans for dispensing medical countermeasures, according to

Jim Lee, the director of student services for the Paradise Valley Unified School District, said that the simulation will be Phoenix's first full-scale preparedness exercise. The PVUSD has been working in conjunction with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to develop the drill.

"This gives us an opportunity to test the plan," Lee said, reports.

The current plan calls for setting up a series of point-of-distribution sites that will serve to represent the kind of drive-through pharmacies that would be needed in the case of an anthrax attack. During a real emergency, the sites would distribute countermeasures to the public.

Public health department spokeswoman Jeanene Fowler said that the drive-thru point-of-distribution method was selected because of the transient nature of the Phoenix area. Fowler said that the most difficult part of the exercise may be finding the 300 volunteers needed to drive through the distribution points. Drivers are being offered lunch and gas cards for their time.

"It's a good opportunity to help out the community," Fowler said, reports.