Illinois county to simulate anthrax attack

Illinois first responders and hospitals in McLean County, along with officials with the Red Cross, Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University, will run a tabletop exercise on Wednesday simulating an inhalation anthrax release.

Shay Simmons, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the McLean County Health Department, said that the tabletop exercise will prepare officials in the area for an emergency response for any pandemic. The department ran a simulated improvised explosive device explosion last year and the year before that it ran a simulated plane crash at Central Illinois Regional Airport, WJBC reports.

"Inhalation anthrax is not something we're going to see in McLean County very often, I don't think, but it's a similar scenario to what would happen if we had a really bad pandemic flu," Simmons said, according to WJBC. "Think H1N1, but much worse."

The drill is meant to work out all the mistakes before a full-scale live drill in September.

"We are going to be looking for role players, we're going to try and push a couple hundred people through a simulated dispensing scenario," Simmons said, according to WJBC. "We're not going to wait until September to practice this, that's why we're doing a tabletop exercise this week."

The exercise will occur at Illinois State University on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.