4 counties take part in Florida's largest terror training drill

Over 80 agencies in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole counties particiapte

By Mark Lehman - Reporter

More than 1,200 people came together Thursday to take part in what's believed to be the largest emergency training exercise ever organized in Florida.

Over 80 agencies participated in the widespread drill, which took place simultaneously in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Seminole counties.

The scenario began after 8 a.m. with firefighters responding to a mock radioactive explosion.

"We have a possible dirty bomb," an incident commander said.

"So, we're going to get hazmat, they're going to detect for radiation and everything like that."

The training exercise was funded through the State Homeland Security Grant Program.

Organizers said a main focus was areas identified during the Pulse nightclub shooting.

"There are particular skill sets here put to the test that are takeaways from the event that happened in our community last year," Orange County Public Information Officer Carrie Proudfit said.

The drill was aimed at improving in certain areas, but some volunteers also used it as a learning tool.

"It's the triage process. That way I have that experience going in as a fresh EMT student," volunteer Joey Gibson said.

For those with experience, it was also an invaluable lesson.

"The more that we put our skills to the test, the better that we are able to adapt and to respond when our community needs us the most," Proudfit said.

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