One of the nation’s largest-ever anti-terrorism exercises began yesterday in Seattle. As the Seattle Times described it, “Two cars were set afire, releasing plumes of smoke. A small explosion was created. Actors playing victims began to moan and cry. A mock television-news crew broke through a police barrier to get at the action. Some of the first emergency workers on the scene ran through the wreckage. Others ambled. The mock explosion of a radioactive ‘dirty bomb’ was the first event in the five-day drill dubbed Topoff 2, short for ‘top officials’.”
The national exercise continues today in Chicago, where a where a mock bioterrorist attack will be staged. The exercise, created by the Department of Homeland Security, will cost an estimated $16 million and involve more than 8,500 people from 100 federal, state and local agencies, the American Red Cross and the Canadian government.
The drill was being run from Washington, D.C., where about 80 federal workers from 26 agencies sat at long rows of tables in a hotel ballroom.
The mock casualty assessment last night: 160 injured, 92 sent to hospitals, 22 still stranded in the rubble and two confirmed dead, said the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Deputy Seattle Police Chief Clark Kimerer did not take part in the decision-making in the drill, but assessed it from the outside. “We are functioning as we should be,” Kimerer said. “I’d give it a solid B.”