Teams work together at mock weapons of mass destruction exercise

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- The Tennessee Valley is at risk for threats from weapons of mass destruction, according to Huntsville Fire Rescue Officials.

"Because of our technology, the things that go on on the Arsenal, the missile defense... we're a target," explained Steve Britton, the fire department's Special Operations Division Chief.

That's just one reason why they teamed up with the Alabama National Guard Civil Support Team, Huntsville Police Bomb Squad, and HEMSI to conduct mock scenarios over the next three days.

It's a massive exercise that brings these teams from across the area -- and state-- together to learn how each other works and how to coordinate when it matters most.

Tuesday's exercise was to respond to a chemical lab, set up in a chemical weapons manufacturing simulation. It wasn't meant to feel like an exercise, playing out in real-time and even using stimulants to cause firefighters' gear and sensors to go off as they would if harmful chemicals and smoke were really present. It's all about learning how to respond if the threats were real.

"We don't want the first time we come on scene working together, responding to something in the real world, to be the first time we've ever had any interaction," said Major Michelle Bauerkemper, Civil Support Team Operations Officer.