Billings Prepares for Anthrax Disaster Drill - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Billings Prepares for Anthrax Disaster Drill

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BILLINGS -

Eager to get a taste of anthrax? Maybe not, but several dozen have volunteered to be part of a drill for how local crews would respond to an outbreak of the deadly toxin.

The U.S. Postal Service, aided by local agencies such as Riverstone Health and the Billings fire department, will have a chance to test their readiness for an anthrax attack in the city.

It's a drill similar to the Conoco 66 refinery disaster response exercise held several months ago. Events like these help local emergency responders prepare for a real disaster.

There's an old saying, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole and these exercises bring both private and public entities together that learn to work together and again, the ultimate goal is to in the event of something bad happening in our community, all of these agencies know to work together," said Billings fire chief Paul Dextras.

The premise involves a container of anthrax being found at the local post office and how emergency crews will respond to treating several dozen volunteers who are exposed.

"They should expect to get a little bit of wet, so they'll have to have some clothes on underneath their clothes because they'll be getting wet, then they'll have to take their outer clothing off. And then we'll get some coveralls and then be bussed to our point of dispensing here at Riverstone," said Greg Neill, emergency preparedness coordinator for Riverstone Health.

This marks the first time since 2007 the post office held a drill like this in Billings.

"If we practice how we play, when we play, we play a lot better," said Dextras.

The anthrax simulation exercise will take place on Tuesday, August 13th and run from 1 to 5 PM.