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CR Police & Fire Conduct Emergency Drill

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Several Linn county groups joined forces for a safety exercise on Thursday.

Cedar rapids police and fire, along with the united states postal service and Linn County Public Health, conducted an anthrax detection exercise at the main post office downtown.

Fire hoses, fire trucks, police cars, and more all on scene to stop an anthrax threat.

Okay, its actually a drill, chance for local fire and police response teams to work together.

"This just gives us a really good opportunity to train for a whole variety of different events that may happen, said Josh Jensen, Acting Captain.

It started at nine in the morning.

A bio hazard detection system at the downtown post office simulated a positive alert for anthrax.

Cedar Rapids police then arrived on the scene to establish a perimeter to secure the area, while hazardous materials technicians worked to help the would-be victims.

"We need to be sharp and tending to them as quickly as possible and everyone along the chain needs to know their job, said Jensen.

Victims showered in a decontamination tank then folks from Linn County Public Health gave them medication or, in this case, Skittles at a dispensing station.

"With these drills we want we want to see what are we doing right, what are we doing wrong, what we can do better, said Heather Meador, Public Health Nurse.

While it's been almost 13 years since an anthrax attack occurred in the U.S, being prepared is still vital which is why evaluators came out to watch the teams at work.

"This exercise today isn't so much about the post office it's more about how well community response is, said Bradley Schetzsle, National Preparedness Specialist.

"It really gives us an opportunity to get better faster, Jensen said.

These drills take place once every three years at the mail processing center.

Anthrax has not been found in the mail since letters discovered in 2001.
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