Old Tucson hosts terror response drillPosted: Updated:
A full scale terrorist response west of town Wednesday. It was fake, an exercise with more than a dozen police and fire agencies taking part.
The gunshots and the explosions felt and sounded real. But it was a little bit of Hollywood Wednesday for dozens of police and firefighters out at the Old Tucson Movie Studios.
"Our preparedness efforts are very important. The more we prepare the better off our response teams the better they're going to the better there going to respond," says Jillian Bradshaw from Pima County Emergency Management.
The training included disposal of explosives and a barricade situation with a gunman holding hostages.
"Basically when we have a scenario happen or incident happen. Our response teams are called out on dispatch and through notification systems, and they will respond accordingly," explains Bradshaw.
Communication between law enforcement agencies like the Pima County bomb squad and firefighter throughout the area is very key in drills like this one.
"We have communications equipment sent to that scene and it allows us to connect all of our radios together so that we can with agencies that we don't normally communicate with on a regular basis," says Captain Trish Tracy of the Tucson Fire Department.
After the exercise is over, commanders review the procedures.
"We are always looking for areas that we can improve and areas we can sustain as a strength. That's the main purpose of these exercises," says Bradshaw.
To make things seem as real as possible none of the agencies or organizations knew what was going on as they came into work.
"We want to practice like we play so we know that we are prepared should an event like this happen in the future," says Captain Tracy.
Old Tucson Studios donated the site for the exercises to the county and the city. The first responders usually practice full scale response like this once every year or six months.