Mock Disaster Helps Prepare for Anthrax Contamination

By: Alex Snyder Email
By: Alex Snyder Email

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- While it was not an actual emergency, personnel acted as if it were a real anthrax attack Tuesday at the post office.

"If there's things we can do better, that's what we do these drills for because we want to play the way we practice," said Bob Sharp with the Charleston Fire Department. "You know, so today we're practicing it, and maybe we'll learn a few things and make it better if the real thing does occur."

Here’s the scenario: after anthrax is found, the contaminated employees are quarantined then sent through showers where they are brushed, rinsed and given a special suit to wear.

Afterward, they are put on buses and taken to the hospital.

Some employees from the post office volunteered to be a part of this tightly controlled exercise because they know anthrax is life threatening.

"I just wanted to go ahead and go through the whole procedure, just in case something ever did happen," postal employee Jerome Hairston said. "Since I am a supervisor, I kind of need to know so I can help other people that are going through it."

David Walton, a spokesperson with the postal service, said, "When those attacks happened back in 2001, there were two postal employees that actually died because they came in contact with a letter that was contamination by anthrax."

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