unknowing residents to take part in terror drill

city testing way to quickly distribute antibiotics

unknowing residents to take part in terror drillfrom wcvb: About 23,000 Boston residents are weeks away from taking part in a bioterror drill, and many probably don't even know it.

Health officials plan to have mail carriers deliver tiny white cardboard boxes to the doorsteps and mailboxes of thousands of residents in the city's West Roxbury and South End neighborhoods on Sunday, Sept. 23.

"Anytime you are talking about a release of anthrax in the city, you are talking about pretty much a worst case scenario where you need to get medications to people as quickly as possible," said John Jacob of the Boston Public Health Commission.

The empty boxes will be used to simulate how quickly antibiotics could be delivered to residents in the event of a bioterror attack.

"No one knows the streets, knows the deliveries, knows where the houses are and the sequence they are set up in better than letter carriers do," said Bob Cannon of the U.S. Postal Service.

In the event of a real emergency when the antibiotics are highly coveted, the mail carriers will have a police escort.

"There is no emergency whatsoever. This is just a test, and this is a way for us to figure out if this particular delivery option is a good fit for Boston," Jacob said.

If it were a real emergency, each box would hold 20 pills.