Atlanta — Oct 18, 2023
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) on Thursday, October 19 will be coordinating a full-scale training exercise designed to prepare the region from a potential large-scale incident. Emergency responders from the City of Atlanta and five metro Atlanta counties – Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett – will participate in the exercise, which will take place at two vacant hotels near the I-20/Fulton Industrial interchange in southwest Atlanta. It’s the first training exercise of its size and scope to take place in metro Atlanta.
During the exercise, emergency personnel will respond in real-time to an explosion at one of the vacant hotels that is a suspected terrorist attack, causing structural damage, mass injuries, and mass fatalities. At the second vacant hotel, law enforcement, including SWAT and bomb teams, will pursue suspects and work to free hostages. Emergency personnel will face a fast-changing situation that will put their training to the test and identify any areas needing improvement.
“While local, state, and federal officials do everything they can to prevent major incidents like terrorist attacks, it’s critical that our region be prepared to respond should anything occur,” said Bernard Coxton, Director of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness at ARC. “Joint exercises such as this will also help train first responders from different jurisdictions to work together, just as they would have to do during a real emergency.”
To maximize training opportunities, the entire scenario will be run twice on Oct. 19: from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The former hotels will be hubs of activity, including the deployment of fire and police equipment and specialty teams.
“To the public’s eye, this will look like a real emergency. We are taking care to notify people living in the area, as well as schools and other nearby facilities, ahead of time about the training exercise to minimize any concerns during the day,” said Fulton County Police Chief Wade Yates.
About Atlanta UASI
The Atlanta Regional Commission Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is a program of the federal Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). UASI aims to provide a secure, prepared, and resilient Atlanta region by continuing to develop all-hazard planning and response capabilities that enable a safe and secure urban area for all residents and visitors. UASI was designed to provide enhanced federal preparedness funding to high-threat, high-density urban areas that were identified as vital to the nation’s economy and national security if disrupted by a terrorist attack. Our focus is to manage the Atlanta UASI in partnership with jurisdictions in the UASI footprint. Those jurisdictions are the City of Atlanta and Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
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The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 11-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 74 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission’s mission is to foster thriving communities for all within the Atlanta region through collaborative, data-informed planning and investments.
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