SWFL agencies simulate mass casualty attack in Fort Myers

A large number of first responders attended a Homeland Security training event Thursday in Lee County, according to the Fort Myers Police Department.

The event took place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Fowler Street from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Edison Avenue, police said. Morning commuters were advised to avoid the area and seek an alternate route.

“This might be a little bit of an inconvenience, but in today’s day and age it’s something we have to do,” Fort Myers Police Department Lt. Jay Rodriguez said.

SWAT teams and emergency vehicles responded to the area as volunteers portrayed victims of a suicide bomber, hostages were later held in a box car and terrorists blew up a tank car, police said.

“I was a 24-year-old who had massive head injury. You could actually see my brain, I was dead on site,” volunteer Paige Bohana said.

The training exercise gave local, state and federal agencies the chance to work hand-in-hand on a life-like scenario.

“Our training scenario included three bombs, 15 injured, 36,000 gallons of ammonia release, three bad guys with hostages, simulated shelter for 50 evacuees, one biological lab producing weaponized avian influenza and 220 responders who restored safety in 4 hours,” said William Miller, deputy special operations coordinator for the Ft. Myers Fire Department.

All of the agencies that participated in the exercise will meet Tuesday to evaluate their training.

A training in 2017 took place in Charlotte County. The next training in 2019 is expected to take place in Naples.

WINK News streamed a portion of the exercise on Facebook:

The Fort Myers Police Department shared photos of the training exercise:

WINK News reporter Chris Grisby tweeted from the scene:

Here’s what was used in the training exercise:

Participants: FMFD 10 FF, HM6A 15 HAZMAT Techs, HM6C 15 HAZMAT Techs, FBI HAZMAT 5 HAZMAT Techs, CST 21 HAZMAT Techs, LCEMS 8 medics 4 OMS, 2 supervisors, LCEM 6, FMEM 10, FL DOH 4, Red Cross 15 shelter, Salvation Army 5, FL DEP 2, School Board 1, SWFL EOD 15, FMPD 25, Charlotte County HAZMAT 7 Techs, 30 volunteer victims (202 Total)

Agency Target Capabilities to be exercised: Initial Response/Technical Decontamination set up time and capacity (FMFD), Command and Communications (FMFD), Evidence Collection (FBI), Mass Causality (LCEMS/Lee Memorial), Hostage situation(FMPD), Site Control (FMPD), Evacuations(FMPD/LCEMS/LCEM), Chemical IED response (SWFL Regional Bomb Squad), EOC set up (FMEM, LCEOC), Communications (all), MSO (LCEMS), Bomb Suit Decon (FMFD), Supporting City EM (LCEM), Public Alert and warnings (LCEM), FEMA Mass Notification (LCEM), EOC Activation (FMEM), Mass Causality facility coordination (LMH), Joint Recon & Entry (CST), Bio lab (CST), PIO/ Media education (FMPD/LCEMS), Notifying State Watch office and requesting CST (FMFD/CST), , Decon run-off (FLDEP), Canteen for emergency rehab (Salvation Army), Evacuee Shelter set up (Red Cross), Shelter in Place (FL DOH)

Props: Train (Seminole Gulf), Lab (FBI), IED (EOD), 1 Bus (School Board)

Number of Vehicles: HM6A (3 Engines, 3 Trailers), HM6C (1 Engines, 2 Trailers, 3 SUV) Charlotte HAZMAT (1 Squad, 1 SUV, Rescue), CST (4 Trailers), FBI (1 Truck and 12’ trailer, 2 SUV), LCEMS (1 ambulance), 2 SUV, LCEM MRU, 2 SUV, Salvation Army food truck, DEP pickup truck, 3 SWAT/Hostage 3 Patrol FMPD, 2 EOD buses

Map provided by FMPD
Locations of training exercises.