By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The US Postal Service was preparing for a test this afternoon of its Biohazard Detection System response plan.

Local, state, and federal emergency responders are among those participating in the drill this afternoon (2-4pm) at the postal service’s Philadelphia Mail Processing and Distribution Center, on Lindbergh Blvd. in Southwest Philadelphia.

“Communication is the key, especially in emergency situations,” notes Reginald Wade, a postal inspector with the Philadelphia division of the US Postal Inspections Service.

“Every single mail piece is run through the Biohazard Detection System,” he explains, “and in the event that the presence of anthrax was found, then the BDS alarm would go off and that’s when everybody would respond.  And everything we are doing in the drill today would then become a reality.”

Wade says BDS systems are installed in mail processing facilities across the country, and drills are routinely held — “just to make sure everybody is ready.”

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