Broward County Conducts Weapons of Mass Destruction Exercise

The exercise was designed to simulate a County-wide emergency response to a reported deadly chemical leaking from a container.

By Betty Yu
|  Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013  |  Updated 9:50 PM EDT
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Part of a cargo terminal at Port Everglades turned into a makeshift emergency room Wednesday, as part of a weapons of mass destruction drill designed to test the emergency response of Broward County. Mike Jachles and Gregory Holness of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy spoke about the drill.

Part of a cargo terminal at Port Everglades turned into a makeshift emergency room Wednesday, as part of a weapons of mass destruction drill designed to test the emergency response of Broward County. Mike Jachles and Gregory Holness of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue and Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy spoke about the drill.

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Part of a cargo terminal at Port Everglades turned into a makeshift emergency room Wednesday, as part of a weapons of mass destruction drill designed to test the emergency response of Broward County.

The exercise was designed to simulate a County-wide emergency response to a reported deadly chemical leaking from a container.

Dock workers, Port Everglades Department staff and other volunteers acted as mock victims of the leak, while more than 100 maritime and emergency response professionals participated in the emergency response.

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“If we don't plan together, if we don't prepare together, if we don't train together, we can't respond together,” said Mike Jachles of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

"Operation Resilient Response" is the first exercise of its kind on this scale, and was funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

“This is one of the busiest cruise ports in the country, one of the busiest cargo ports in the nation, there's a lot of traffic, there are a lot of hazards,” Jachles said. “We need to do the what if, and worse case scenarios.”

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Although an emergency of this nature may be uncommon, authorities say the threat is very real.

“Incidents don't occur on a frequent basis so the more you prepare the better prepared you are,” said Gregory Holness, a district chief of Broward Fire Rescue Sheriff Rescue.

More than 11,000 employees work at the Port, which together generates $26 billion in economic activity each year.

“It’s important that we have security and safety in place so that it's a safe and viable facility,” said Ellen Kennedy from the Broward County Port Everglades Department.
 

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