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Anthrax call with LIVING ORGANISMS in powder...

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  • Anthrax call with LIVING ORGANISMS in powder...

    Sometime this evening, we got toned out to Melrose Rd in the Melrose section of our town. A truck was driving down the street and a box fell off that back of it. An old lady picked up the box and brought it inside her house. When she picked it up, she noticed white powder fell out of it.

    DEP tested the powder to see if it contained living organisms and it tested POSITIVE.

    One of our loudmouth firefighters was warned to keep his mouth shut at the onset of this call. He wound up going around telling the ambulance that we had a high inhalation hazard. This of course got repeated over CMED, and before you knew it everyone but us was buzzing about how their was this big threat in East Windsor.

    However, it turned out that it was a Typhoid vaccine and not anthrax. The DEP guy said that their was no inhalation threat and the worse that would happen to anyone who was exposed is that they would get a case of the runs for a few days.
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

  • #2
    What a goat-rope! So far we've been lucky and haven't been toned out for any anthrax calls. I'm glad you guys didn't get exposed!!!!!
    Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!

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    • #3
      Remember, the anthrax field tests are notorious for their low accuracy. Anthrax is in it's spore form in the open air. Too bad that your scene got so messed up. Been there, done that......

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      • #4
        Shall I send you a stapler for that guys mouth? For all, anthrax is for the most part just another annoyance that comes with the times we live in. I have found it best to tell people the truth at incidents that anthrax is less of a threat than the flu is. Once people realize that those who like to scare people will realize that (anthrax, ebola, small pox, -insert favorite bacteria or virus here!_) they wont get what they want they will stop.
        Firefighter/NREMT-B/Hazmat Tech
        To the Lord Jesus Christ: Thanks for providing a career where we can make a difference.

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        • #5
          Possible bio-terrorism scenes are CRIME SCENES and should be treated as such by all emergency services. That means mouths SHUT. If it were my FD, the member would be disciplined for violating crime scene protocols.

          There is no fail safe method to field test for anthrax. The Smart-tics are notoriously inaccurate, Haz CAt kits can eliminate alot of stuff, but cannot tell you that it IS anthrax. One observation that can be made is that anthrax spores have no electrostatic charge, so they won't cling to anything. Another method that we have been using is taking a minute amount of the material, and placing it on a slide with clear cellophane tape. Decon the slide with a bleach solution and then look at the material under a microsope, highest power. If the material is a mineral or crystal looking material, it is not anthrax.

          Education of both the public and the emergency services is our best tool in these cases.
          PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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