For a day and a half Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 200 emergency management professionals will take part in a mock terrorism training exercise based at the Taylor County Expo Center.
The regional terrorism exercise, run by the Texas Engineering Extension Service, will focus on communications during a crisis, according to the city of Abilene’s emergency management coordinator, Jim Bryan. Agencies from the West Central Teas Council of Governments — a 19-county region — will participate in the test.
Simulating a school hostage situation caused by terrorists, the participants will use the scenario to test local governments’ abilities to communicate effectively and talk on the same emergency communication channel. Emergency management professionals will park communications trailers at the Expo Center, which will serve as the school, and the joint Abilene /Taylor County Emergency Management Operations Center will work from the basement of Abilene City Hall.
Taylor County and Abilene officials used the same EOC structure during the summer floods.
The various counties and agencies involved in the simulation will be graded by state agencies, according to Lenka Wright, the city’s information coordinator. Those who pass will be deemed “interoperable.”
Though local residents will not be affected by the drill, the city advises those who listen to scanners and public safety radio channels to not be alarmed about the radio communications.