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Cedar Rapids police, fire to participate in anthrax exercise

The Cedar Rapids police and fire departments, in cooperation with the United States Postal Service and Linn County Public Health, will be conducting an exercise at the United States Postal Service Cedar Rapids Processing and Distribution Center, 615 6th Avenue SE on Thursday, May 29th.

The exercise, which is scheduled from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., will involve the management and mitigation of the effects of a positive Biohazard Detection Systems alert.

The Biohazard Detection System (BDS) is a technology that combines both automated air sampling with an internal, automated testing system using DNA analysis to detect dangerous biological in the mail stream with extremely high reliability.  The exercise’s goal is to facilitate multi-agency coordination in emergency operations for a simulated positive test alert for the bacterium that causes anthrax.

Police officers will create a security perimeter around the Post Office.  Firefighters will be setting up a decontamination tent to treat simulated victims.  All Cedar Rapids firefighters are trained to the hazardous materials operations level, and the Hazardous Materials team members are trained to the technician level.  Eighteen members of the Department are currently part of a state regional asset Weapons of Mass Destruction Response team.

The BDS exercise this Thursday is not related to any known threats or intelligence information of any kind.  The BDS exercise is simply an emergency preparedness exercise.  Citizens should be aware that the exercise is a commitment by all agencies involved to keep them safe.  Dangerous biologicals have not been found in the mail since the letters discovered in 2001.

Officials say 7th Street will be closed from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue SE so that firefighters can run hose lines to nearby fire hydrants.

posted : May, 27th by KXEL

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