New York county holds anthrax exercise

Public health officials in Franklin County, New York, recently completed a state mandated anthrax-release drill to test their response to a potential terrorist attack.

The Franklin County Public Health Department was one of the first local health departments in New York State to run such an exercise, which was monitored by state officials, according to

The New York State Health Department plans to evaluate how various counties have used state-issued disaster response funding that was provided following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The state is particularly interested in seeing if Franklin County officials would be able to treat approximately 200 people every hour or the entire county population in 48 hours for anthrax exposure.

Franklin County Public Health Department Director Katie Strack was the incident commander during the exercise. Overall, she was pleased with the results, but the operation did not come off entirely without a hitch.

"There were a few computer hiccups," Strack said, reports. "Considering it was the first time the staff was tested like this, I don't think that's bad at all."

Approximately 50 students from St. Regis Falls Central School volunteered to play victims during the drill. Each volunteer preregistered, checked in and moved through waiting lines to a group of nurses that dispensed simulated medical countermeasures and gave critical information.

"We did see we have to get quicker with the lines, but this is the first time, and the state needs to hear it so they can pass it on to other counties as they prepare," Strack told her team during a post-exercise briefing, according to