Alabama county conducts major bioterror drill

First responders in Jefferson County, Alabama, recently conducted an emergency operations drill simulating a biological attack.

Emergency management crews and the Jefferson County Health Department practiced their response to an attack using aerosolized anthrax by testing their procedures for dispensing medical countermeasures, according to

The "points of dispensing" training session, which was held at the gym of Gardendale High School, included the use of more than 300 local volunteers.

"We are, at the health department, the EMA, and other agencies are wanting to make sure our community is prepared for major disasters," Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County Health Department said, reports.

The exercise, though considered realistic in nature, was conducted on a smaller scale than what would occur during an actual anthrax attack. In such an event, the central dispensing point would be located at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Alabama.

Every few years, the Jefferson County Health Department conducts a similar event in order to remain prepared for a real disaster. They are graded on their performance by experts from Georgia Tech. The health department considers the drill a success if they are capable of fully distributing the countermeasures within the first 48 hours of reports of a biological weapons release.