Emergency scenario downtown prepares responders for terrorist threats

(WMC-TV) – Many Memphians called Action News 5's newsroom to voice concerns about a massive emergency downtown Tuesday.

Breathe a sigh of relief… It was a drill, and now the Memphis Post Office is prepared if it is faced with a real terror threat.

Sirens were blaring in the drill which had people hurrying to evacuate the post office on Third Street.

In the drill, deadly anthrax spores were discovered in a letter and it was up to postal security officers, firefighters, hospital workers, police, and others, to respond to the emergency.

"That's part of the drill today, we are going to see how quickly we can do it, you know, practice makes perfect," said U.S. Post Office spokesman David Walton.

Here is the scenario:

Once employees are evacuated from the building, emergency workers move quickly with de-contamination procedures and medicine.

Regina Holmes was among dozens of volunteers who went through the steps of being scrubbed down.

The decontamination process is aimed at getting deadly substances like anthrax off of those who come in contact with the deadly powder.

"Its deadly right its very deadly and it cuts off your respirator system and the minute it does that your basically out of here," said volunteer Regina Holmes.

"Organizers say there's a good reason for these types of drills. In 2001, a deadly anthrax powder was actually discovered in a letter at a Washington D.C. Post office.

Two postal workers and three residents died in the 2001 incident.

Officials say they are not looking forward to any bio-terror threat in the future, but if it happens, drills like this will help them be ready to deal with it.

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