COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–This Saturday, a massive training exercise, meant to simulate a terrorist attack, will be held at multiple different locations across Central Ohio.
“This is the largest exercise that will ever be executed in the state of Ohio,” said Carl Roberts, Homeland Security Coordinator and Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack (CCTA) Exercise Director.
From 8 am until 4 pm, Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security will be training for seven different terrorist threats all at once.
“They’re all the things that you see on the national news, you know active aggressor, explosive devices, chemical items,” said Jeff Young, Director of Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Director Young said the exercise will require a full-scale public safety response, involving around 50 law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level — along with hundreds of volunteers acting like victims or perpetrators, in multiple different settings.
“Office buildings, industrial settings, transportation location, a public or a large crowd venue, so we’re kind of using those as challenges, and representative of the things we might face,” said Young.
However, they also face the potential for creating panic, which is why Franklin County EMA is working to inform the public as much as possible, that these are only training exercises and not actual scenarios.
“We have a ton of signage, we have a lot of players, we have controllers and evaluators whose primary goal is to make sure that we dissuade any of the potential issues that happen from a misinterpretation of real-world bleeding over into exercise world and vice versa,” said Roberts.
Director Roberts said they are taking every precaution necessary to ensure that people are informed and safe.
And adds that if an actual emergency or threat were to occur, there are staff prepared to respond.
“The normal staffing is going to be there, you know, the regular patrol guys, the fire guys, they’re all on duty. The folks that are playing in our exercise, they’re off duty and doing this on their time off. Just to get better at their craft, and to basically show their commitment to our industry and public safety,” said Roberts.
For more information, you can visit https://fcemhs.org/