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Aug-05-2006 20:30printcomments

Agencies Test Post Office Biohazard Detection System

25 postal employees learned what it would be like to experience a real emergency involving biohazards.

Photos courtesy: Steven Berkson/Salem Fire

(SALEM) - Biohazard detection equipment and procedures at Salem's main post office were put to the test today, during an exercise that focused on the proper response to a biological threat such as Anthrax.

Several public safety agencies including Salem Fire, Oregon State Police, and the Marion County Health Division conducted the joint exercise with the United States Postal Service.

During the exercise, an alrm was activated and postal employees evacuated the facility to a safe location, established a command post, whil initiating a call to 9-1-1 and completing other emergency notification procedures.

Salem Fire's hazardous materials team secured the facility to prevent further contamination and provided decontamination to the postal employees. Oregon State Police provided security.

Fire department Battalion Chief Steven Berkson, says about 25 post office personnel were involved in the exercise and had the opportunity to see what would be done for them in the event of a real emergency.

The Marion County Health Department used the exercise to practice their procedures for providing treatment and tracking of potentially exposed postal employees.

It is reported that a great deal of work has been done by the postal service to care for employees faced with these biological hazards.

The drill took place from 3:45 PM to 6:30 PM Saturday.


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