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The Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG) will conduct a two-day regional exercise Wednesday and Thursday, July 18-19.

The exercise will test the interoperability of communications in the area and compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

First responders, fire departments and law enforcement agencies in Hill, McLennan, Limestone, Bosque, Falls and Freestone counties will participate in the event.

Participants will create a response to a scenario-driven catastrophic event.

The incident will simulate a domestic terror attack involving a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) on the area’s vital infra-structure.

Agencies will devise their response and simulate it through the communications system to test its compatibility across the region.

Representatives from all jurisdictions in the region will be present in the staging area at 9 a.m. Wednesday with one or two hand-held radios to test interoperability.

“The exercise will give us a chance to demonstrate our ability to respond in a crisis,” said Jeff Lyon, Hill County Emergency Management coordinator. “It also lets us determine if there are any weaknesses in our plans and how to address them.”

The National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) through the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) will evaluate the drill and its participants’ use of NIMS.

The functional exercise will include nodes at the staging area, incident command post (ICP) and emergency operations center (EOC) in Hillsboro Wednesday.

Staging and the ICP will be located at Hillsboro Fire/Rescue Station 2, located at 945 Corsicana Highway.

The EOC will be located at the Hill County Law Enforcement Center, located at 218 North Waco Street.

Hill Regional Hospital in Hillsboro and Lake Whitney Medical Center will also participate in the exercise, according to Lyon.

Additional nodes of the exercise will be located in Waco.

The exercise will continue Thursday and conclude with a facilitator-led, after-action review (AAR).

The AAR consists of open, self-discovery discussions with participants in order to reinforce the strengths in their plan and to identify weaknesses in need of improvement.

Created in 1998 as part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, NERRTC has delivered more than 5,100 WMD/terrorism incident courses to more than 204,000 emergency responders across the country.

TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical-assistance and emergency-response services impacting Texas and beyond.

The exercise is sponsored by the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management.

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Kathy Fraser

Director of Marketing and Communications

We’d rather practice with people that we’ll actually be responding with…It enables us to respond quickly and more confidently, so we can better serve the public. I would recommend this course to any first responder.

— Charles Torres, Assistant Chief, The Port Authority of NY & NJ Police Department
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