Disaster training for Smith County first responders - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Disaster training for Smith County first responders

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - Large-scale disasters can happen anywhere, that's why first responders from all over Smith County took part in a simulation Saturday that could better prepare them to keep you safe for things like tornadoes, plane crashes and so much more.

It looks, and sounds very real.

Tyler fire fighters are securing a trench in Smith County near the airport, where two men are trapped -- it's a training exercise.

"Testing our ability to communicate with other departments on large scale incidents," says Tyler Fire Department Captain Jeff Hudgens.

There were four scenarios, this one required firefighters to hoist two dummies from that trench to safety.

The other's included a tornado touching down, an overturned truck spilling chemicals, and a cargo plane crash that required water be brought in through a hose because trucks couldn't drive to the site.

"See what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are, what we need to improve on, maybe what we need to train more on," says Mary Thompson, the acting public information officer for the drill.

Thompson says more than 80 people and dozens of agencies, from Smith County Office of Emergency Management, to the Red Cross and most fire departments were there.

Even other counties took part.

"Takes lots of people to make a drill like this successful," says Thompson.

"Our portion of the scenario took about an hour and a half, we're actually about to report back to the staging area," says Capt. Hudgens.

A staged scene with real life disasters that ensure these first responders can keep you safe.

Once a year a disaster drill this size is put on to train first responders in Smith County.

There are other smaller drills throughout the year.

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