Health Department and Sheriff's Office Conduct Bioterrorism Preparation Drill
Recently, the Alexandria Health Department and Sheriff's Office took part in a joint exercise to dispense medicine to first responders in the event of a bioterrorism attack. The Health Department has been working closely with other public safety agencies to develop plans that ensure public safety personnel receive proper medication in case of a biological attack so they are able to continue working.
On Tuesday, April 9, the Sheriff's Office participated in an anthrax preparedness drill, under the supervision of a Health Department team. Sheriff's Office employees reviewed medical screening sheets completed by fellow deputies and civilian staff and then, following guidelines laid out by the Health Department, they dispensed the appropriate medication, based known allergies and the allergies and ages of their household members. The two-part exercise was held during the morning and at night to cover the multiple shifts of employees. In the drill, more than 150 deputies and civilians received fruit-flavored and chocolate candies which served as substitutes for Doxycycline and Cipro, two common treatments for anthrax exposure. After receiving their “medication” and instructions, employees completed a survey that will help the Health Department evaluate comparable systems and exercises.
The Health Department conducted a similar drill last year with the Fire Department and anticipates doing similar training with the Police Department within the next year.