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Health Department Conducts Joint Bioterrorism Drill in St. Peters Thursday

Volunteers can get a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich for participating between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 27.

will stage a bioterrorism drill on Thursday in , and practice dispensing preventative medication to about 500 people.

Volunteers are needed to drive through the site and simulate picking up the medication between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 27. The first 500 "patients" who go through the line will receive a Chick-Fil-A sandwich.

Doug Bolnick, spokesman for St. Charles County Health Department said the simulation assumes that a homegrown terrorist has distributed anthrax in St. Charles County through an aerial attack. 

"Within 48 hours of us discovering that happened, health departments are asked to give anyone who happens to be in the community medication," he said. 

On Thursday, more than 25 agencies in the metro St. Louis area will participate in the drill and practice dispensing medication through a Point-of-Distribution station set up in a parking lot near Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters, close to the movie theatre. 

Chick-Fil-A has offered the first 500 volunteer "patients" who drive through a free chicken sandwich. Bolnick said people who participate may have to wait 20 to 25 minutes. 

"People can treat themselves to lunch," he said. 

St. Charles County last conducted such an exercise about five or six years ago Bolnick said, but this is the first time the county has distributed medication in a drive through system.

"We've found by talking to institutions that a drive through is able to get people through in a faster rate of speed," he said.

With a population of about 360,000 people in St. Charles County, the department would have to dispense about 750 people an hour to reach its goal. During this drill, they are hoping to distribute to 500 people in two hours. 

"We’re seeing if our staff can accommodate that and what problems can arise," he said. 

More than 125 volunteers and first responders will participate in the drill. A SWAT team will secure the site as they would in a real situation. Some will help with traffic control. Others will help with registration. St. Peters Police Department will help with traffic control. 

To participate: Head to the parking lot adjacent to in St. Peters near the intersection of Suemandy and Grand Teton. Enter the site from Mid Rivers Mall Drive between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Follow along on Twitter with @SCCHealth #June28Drill. 

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