Friday, December 01, 2006

Bioterrorism Drill - Reality Check

Schneier posted this link with little commentary. I'm thinking this is one of the most moronic plans I've seen.
Thousands of Seattle residents will be a part of an unusual bioterrorism drill this weekend and they're just now finding out about it.

Postal carriers are delivering postcards Thursday and Friday to nearly thousands residents informing them of an emergency preparedness exercise in northeast Seattle.

The boundaries: NE 145th Street to NE 60th Street, and First Avenue NE to Lake Washington.

For postal carriers in Seattle this Saturday, it will be a drill like none other: 41 of them will hit neighborhoods in the northeast part of the city delivering tens of thousands of small boxes along with some eye-popping information.

Consider it another reminder of our ever-changing world.

The unique theory is that during the event of a bioterrorism attack, a lot of people will quickly need medications to keep them from becoming sick and the U.S. Postal Service might be one of the best ways to do that.

"The Postal Service has the unique capability to reach every residence in a large geographic area within one day," said Dr. William Raub, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As part of the drill, a Seattle Police officer will walk with that postal carrier, but not approach peoples' front doors.

In a real emergency, a law enforcement escort would also happen – ideally to protect the medication delivery.

The little boxes are set to be dropped off at more than 38,000 homes.

Anyone want to take a shot at what's wrong with this scenario? Bueller, Bueller?

Let's start with the number of no-shows at the USPS that will occur during a bioterrorism event. I'm going to be the percentage will be real high.

Then they won't approach the people's doors, which is interesting in the context that they are being provided police escort to prevent theft of the medication. So, where do they leave the medication? Won't get stolen from the mail box now will it.

And the police escort is interesting. Is this conjecturing that every postal delivery person will have a police escort, or is it that they will only be delivering to a limited number of people? I'm pretty certain that the ratio of postal workers to law enforcement officers is quite a variant.

And if they know they are delivering to a sickness sight, what makes you think that they will deliver? Hell, I can't even get my local postal worker to deliver a package when they have to drop it on the door step rather than in the mail box. That requires walking a whole 15 feet from my mail box.

And how do they bypass the logic of the postal worker becoming a delivery agent for the disease or bio-agent? If the bio attack can be done through casual contact, a postman can deliver the disease quite readily by touching the mail boxes. All of them.

I suppose they have the unique capability with the US postal service, I'm just of the opinion that they aren't taking into account human weaknesses and factors on how biological attacks can be spread.

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