News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, March 14, 2013
Augusta Post Office (WRDW-TV)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- There was a major security drill at Augusta's main post office downtown on Thursday.
It's all about keeping biohazards out of your mail.
"You never know when you might have this situation come upon you, and you might have to really go into action," said Post Office worker Fredrick Trotty.
Action -- against a chemical like anthrax being pushed through the mail system, which is the reason why the U.S. Postal Service stopped everything for this hour-long drill.
"They have a biohazard detection system, and it checks the mail as it goes through the sorter," said Wayne Taylor, the Augusta Fire Department special operations chief.
Postal officials say everything changed on September 11th.
They rewrote emergency plans to reflect modern day threats, including a state-of-the-art detection system.
"[Employees] would enter into a small section where they would disrobe," Taylor explained. "They would then entire an area where they would shower completely. And then they would step into another section that was dry."
A process every single post office employee was trained on during Thursday's exercises.
And first responders are trained to make it happen fast.
"Once we are contacted, we already begin our emergency operation plan so we are here within minutes," said Emitt Walker, the East Central Health District public relations information coordinator.
It's all about about keeping customers and employees safe.
"I thought it was very good," Trotty said.
Trotty just started working at Augusta Post Office and is grateful for the training.
"It was a good opportunity to see what we could do to better the system so everybody can be safe," he said.
The postal service holds this drill every year.
It involves a lot of first responders, including the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, the Augusta Fire Department and the East Central Health District.