More than a dozen law enforcement agencies geared up to respond to a terrorist attack Wednesday morning (Aug 21) at Fort Chaffee. It was all part of an exercise working to teach authorities how to save lives during a large-scale emergency.
"We have an annual requirement to test our anti-terrorism program," explained Maj. Kevin Cox, the operations supervisor at Fort Chaffee. "However this one was much more complicated than what we usually do. With the recent Boston bombing we decided to mirror that one and bring something similar to that one to Fort Chaffee."
As part of the exercise, authorities exploded a bomb at Fort Chaffee injuring dozens of people inside a building.
Law enforcement agencies then worked together on how they would respond to a large-scale terrorist attack, working to save as many lives as possible.
"It's invaluable," said Jeff Turner, the director of Sebastian County Emergency Management. "Ultimately when you come out on a scene you're going to be working together no matter what from a car wreck to a major incident like we've exercised today. You have to be able to work together."
"You talk to these people on the phone day in and day out, but to actually bring these people on the scene and see their faces and work with them, the relationship is sealed after that," Cox said.
Members from the bomb squad were in full gear and on scene. A K9 officer, also sniffing through a barrack looking for TNT. All of the agencies, working to figure out which bomb among several posed the real threat.
Coordinators said they impressed with the results of today's training. However, they say more drills would significantly increase response times and maybe even save lives.
Participants in the exercise included: Arkansas National Guard, Fort Smith EMS, Sebastian County EMS, FBI, Barling Police and Fire, Lavaca Police and Fire, Central City Police and Fire, Fort Smith Police and Fire, Greenwood Police and Fire, Arkansas State Police, Sebastian County Sheriff's Office, Sebastian County Office of Emergency Management, University of Arkansas Police and Arkansas Game & Fish.