Local Officials Prepare for the Possibility of Terrorism

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Community leaders in nine Western Wisconsin counties now have a better idea as to what they'd do if terrorists would attack our area with biological weapons.

They took part in a Mass Clinic Exercise with other health workers, teachers, and police in Rice Lake. It's about planning for a mythical smallpox attack, initiating a quick response, and vaccinating lots of people in a short amount of time.

"They need to understand at what point they're overwhelmed," said Wisconsin Emergency Management Director Rhonda Reynolds, "and who to turn to for assistance."

"Preparedness is practical at any time," says Polk County Health Officer Gretchen Sampson, "because you never know when an emergency is going to happen."

Their plan for dealing with bioterrorism is constantly evolving as the terrorist dynamic changes. For now, leaders of the effort are concentrating on networking between state and county officials.