Charleston County takes part in terrorism drill

Charleston County practices for fake terrorism attack

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC - On Thursday, 27 agencies from around Charleston County took part in a terrorism drill.

Each year, the county holds a disaster drill, but this is the first time the county has looked at preparations and reactions for a terrorism attack.

The attack was split up into two parts.

In Mt. Pleasant, emergency management crews acted as if there were explosions during a fake bicycle race involving 50,000 riders that killed and injured people.

In James Island, the crews reacted to a fake collapse of a spectator viewing area for the race that injured and killed many more people than the Mt. Pleasant incident.

Organizers said events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing helped motivate the county to prepare for the worst.

"Anybody that's seen any footage from the Boston bombing knows you've got people running away and people running in," Shaun Simpson, Mt. Pleasant's training chief said. "We're trying to role play that out as best we can."

While the drill was for terrorism, Charleston Emergency Management Department said it also helps with hurricane preparations.

"These same folks that are working today, even though it may be a terrorism scenario, would be the same individuals who would respond to a hurricane, should it threaten Charleston County," Jason Panto, the director of Charleston County's Emergency Management Department said. "Building those relationships, understanding the systems that are in place, and the processes is essential."

The drill took four months to plan will be scored by instructors using Homeland Security guidelines and then the county says they'll make changes based on those recommendations.

Even though the drill was for first responders, officials said everyone should be aware of things around them and follow the policy of "see something, say something."

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