Tucson Bioterrorism Exercise
FYI Arizona members
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Hundreds of volunteers will pretend to be
victims of bioterrorism this week in a large-scale drill focusing
on the dispensing of antibiotics and vaccines.
The three-day training exercise and conference will test the
abilities of local, state and federal agencies to respond to a
widespread assault involving a bioterror agent. In particular, it
will test the distribution of medications from the National
"How well are we prepared?" said Dr. Elizabeth MacNeill, the
health director for Pima County. "How well did we train our staff
and the folks working with us, and what do we need to do
differently? The other thing is how many people can we see in what
period of time?"
A key will be to "get all the players to work in the same
sandbox," said Randall Ogden, a Tucson Fire Department battalion
chief and one of the exercise's principal organizers.
He expects the exercise to expose weaknesses in areas such as
communication and in transporting people.
The exercise will be watched by hundreds of observers, led by
Surgeon General Richard Carmona and Justice Department evaluators.
Carmona, a former Tucson trauma doctor, helped develop the Pima
County emergency response plan that is being tested.
After the mock attack planned for Wednesday, Pima County
supervisors will declare an emergency and ask Gov. Jane Hull to
request an aid package from the national stockpile.
A 6-ton training package of equipment and mock medications from
the stockpile will be shipped from one of 10 secure sites around
the country to the Arizona Air National Guard, and local health
officials will use the contents to "immunize" about 1,000
volunteers acting as people exposed in a bioterror attack.
In a real attack, the package would be a 50-ton emergency supply
called a "push package" containing antibiotics, antidotes,
vaccines, syringes and other supplies. It would be delivered within
12 hours of the attack and is intended to last two or three days
until other federal help arrives.
A related exercise Thursday in Mesa will involve real
inoculations against tetanus administered to up to 5,000 high
On the Net:
Public Health Emergency Preparedness:
Tucson Bioterrorism Exercise: