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Arizona first responders training for terrorist attacks

Crews practice during a training exercise at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy to keep first responders ready for potential terrorist attacks.(KTAR Photo/Mark Remillard)

PHOENIX -- First responders from around the state took part in training exercises at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy on Thursday aimed at making sure crews are ready for potential terrorist attacks.

About 150 men and women from law enforcement and fire departments ran mock disaster drills, said Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs.

"During this training exercise, we're going to have a hostage type of situation, we're going to have the police force that is here go and stabilize the situation we're also going to have hazardous materials response with also building collapse response," he said before the training began.

The training exercises are part of ensuring crews are able to coordinate with each other effectively and work together to provide support to local agencies in the event of a disaster, Jacobs said.

Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said there is no apparent risk of a terrorist attack at this time but continuous training is important to keep crews prepared.

"On 9/11, our world changed and that is why we are preparing for that," he said. "We hope it never happens, (however) we want to make sure though we are prepared for anything."

Training for potential terrorist attacks are biannual occurrences for these first responders, though some specialized units train more frequently.

Jacobs said the training is more relevant than ever as the Valley gets ready for next year's Super Bowl and preparations for the event are well underway.

"The training aspect, and the planning, and those type of committees have been going on for probably six months already," hr said.

The 150 men and women make up the Urban Areas Security Initiative, Rapid Response Task Force and the Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear Task Force, which are capable of providing support across the state within 72 hours to any agency that might become overwhelmed in a disaster.

About the Author

A southern California native, Mark Remillard began working in radio in 2010 while in community college as a host of late night and weekend programming for publicly supported 88.5 FM KSBR. While working through college, Mark also interned for the Bill Handel Radio Program at Los Angeles' KFI AM640, where he began his work in journalism. Mark moved to Arizona in August 2012 to finish his bachelor's degree at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and graduated in August 2014. Mark began working as a reporter for KTAR in November 2012.


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