Health department holds drill for bioterrorism attack

GILBERT, AZ - The Maricopa County Department of Public Health's Office of Preparedness and Response, the Town of Gilbert and Gilbert Public Schools simulated a bioterrorist event Saturday April 2.

The drill at Mesquite High School allowed the county, town and volunteers to see how quickly and effectively they can work together to dispense medication to the public.

"We have about 200 volunteers who have graciously given their time to basically drive in circles and simulate receiving medications during a mock anthrax attack," said Alisa Diggs, program manager for Maricopa County Public Health's Office of Preparedness and Response.

Dr. Bob England with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said in an actual worst case scenario, hospitals' healthcare officials around the state would be overwhelmed.

He said volunteers would be the best way to distribute life saving medications to Arizona's four million residents.

England added that 100 emergency medicine distribution centers would be set up across the state and practicing procedures before an actual bioterrorist attack is the best way to prepare for the amount of people who would need help.

England admits that getting the medicines and vaccines for an attack quickly will depend largely on recruiting volunteers to not only help distribute, but also on people willing to pick up the necessary medicine for not just their own families, but their neighbors as well.

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