Bradyites becoming aware of terroristic threats, coping

It’s the lead story in every newscast on every major network and on the headlines of every major daily newspaper. Terrorism. The events that occurred on Sept. 11 in New York City, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia were designed to inflict fear and terror in the citizens of this country. The anthrax scare sweeping across the country follows in the same footsteps. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of daily life in Brady, how have the events of the past month and a half affected us here in small town, USA’ What are the chances that terrorism or bio-terrorism will find its way to the small Central Texas community that prides itself on being “Texas Friendly”‘ As would be expected, emergency response crews and affiliated departments have taken the opportunity to brush up on policy and procedures and review emergency actions if just such an event was to occur. Brady Emergency Management Coordinator Randy Young has been busy over the past month updating policies and responses to different scenarios that the area could encounter. “Just about every organization involved in emergency response has taken time to review how prepared they are for any number of incidents,” said Young. “It’s normally quite difficult to get people interested in emergency management. The last time we had this much of a concerted effort was when we were preparing for Y2K. This time around, we are taking it in smaller bites, but everyone is on a much higher level of awareness.” The events of Sept. 11 have had far-reaching negative effects that have made it into virtually every aspect of this nation’s economy. In Brady, the biggest effect initially was the decrease in the amount of big-ticket items such as car loans, home and business loans and general money lending. “Initially there was a slow down.” said Mike Rogers, senior vice president with Commercial National Bank. “Everyone was cautious and hunkered down, but things have picked up in the past three weeks and people seem to be doing business as usual.” With the recent rash of anthrax scares and their affiliations with the postal service, the Brady Post Office has also increased its security measures and its awareness of daily activities. “We have been instructed by the Postmaster General to do whatever measures are required to ensure our postal carriers that they are safe,” said Brady Postmaster Garland Freeze. “We are not overly concerned because of the measures that are being taken at the higher levels of the postal service, but we are much more aware of our surroundings and cautions of suspicious activity.” In response to a question about the possibility of anthrax or some other biological or chemical terrorism making its way to Brady through the mail, Freeze stated that he believes the chances are very slim. To be safe, he encourages people to use scrutiny when handling their mail and to wash their hands after opening the mail to ensure safety. As for the effects on the local postal system, according to Freeze, some mail items have slowed in their delivery schedules, but for the most part, he expects the majority of mail items to remain the same. Some local businesses that deal with large volumes of mail now have personnel opening letters while wearing rubber gloves. Some have also made dust masks available to persons who wish to wear them. Several local businesses who sell rubber gloves, however, have not seen a marked difference in demand for these products in recent weeks despite the increasing media coverage showing numerous offices and branches of government resorting to such measures. Local law enforcement has changed the way in which it handles incoming mail. All mail delivered to the police station is now placed in a basket outside the dispatch office where it is retrieved and sorted prior to it being brought into the back offices. Brady Police Chief John Stewart told the Standard-Herald that cautious awareness is the key to personal safety. He also stated that overreaction and panic to any situation will only further the cause of any intended incidents. To date, no serious anthrax threats or copycat instances have been reported in Brady. Several suspicious letters have been brought to the police department, but none proved out of the ordinary. The events of the past month have also given area fire departments cause to reevaluate their preparedness and to update policies and procedures for dealing with hazardous materials (HAZ-MAT) incidents. “We have held two training drills in the past few weeks specifically designed to reacquaint the department with proper procedures for a HAZ-MAT call,” said Brady Fire Chief Johnny Elliott. “We simply are taking precautions not necessarily to deal with a bio-terrorism incident, but the more realistic probability of dealing with a chemical spill at a local plant or by a passing tanker truck. ‘Our responsibility in such a situation is simply to identify a situation and secure the area of the spill until the proper authorities can be brought to the scene.” McCulloch County citizens are continuing with their daily routines. Some have taken any number of precautions in response to recent events, but the majority seem to be leaving it as a topic of conversation. The months and years to come will be reflected upon by future generations and quite possibly seen as the time in which the United States woke up from a lazy slumber.

Leave a Comment