US receives failing grade for bio terrorism preparation - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Is the Tri-State prepared for a bio terrorism attack?

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

ALEXANDRIA, KY (FOX19)  - A Congressional panel gave the White House an "F" this week when it comes to protecting you and your family from a bio-terrorism attack, but local first responders said they're ready to keep you safe.

From skyscrapers to bridges to government buildings - they're all possible terrorist targets. The FBI created a joint terrorism task force that studies the issue and it's based here in Cincinnati.

"Anything necessary for the infrastructure of the community," said Special Agent Michael Brooks. "Power supplies, that sort of thing is what we're looking at. Transportation hubs, those things that have been attacked by terrorists in the past, but we're also trying to be forward thinking and you know, what might they look at attacking in the future?"

This week, federal lawmakers said the U.S. is not prepared to respond to the smallest type of attack: the release of a deadly virus or bacteria.

"We've spent literally millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to be better prepared today than we were say on 9/11," said William Turner, Director of Campbell County's Emergency Management Office.

"Catastrophic type event?" Turner question. "I don't know that anyone wants to say we're fully prepared for that type of an incident. Smaller incidents. I think we could bring great resources to bear upon."

In the event of any emergency, a small room in Turner's Campbell County building in Alexandria becomes command central. Crews set up there, calling residents, monitoring activity, and giving commands. And they won't be alone. Eight Ohio counties and four in Kentucky and Indiana all work together on a regular basis.

"Those counties come together to work, plan, train," said Turner. "We even come together and decide what equipment needs to be bought. So it is truly a multi-county, multi-agency operation."

Turner said the group has spent about $5 million stocking up on equipment so they're ready to take the call when and if it comes.

 

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