COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL– Today, first responders from the state, county, and the Muscogee County School District joined together in a full-scale, multi-jurisdictional training exercise to help prepare first responders in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Management Director, Chance Corbett shares a breakdown of the extensive, collaborative effort.

“If you look around in this exercise today you saw the sheriff’s office, people with the police department, and you saw Fire and EMS, emergency management, you saw all of these agencies coming together talking about and treating this like it was a real incident. Even though we all knew it was an exercise, you couldn’t tell if you paid attention. You would have thought, ‘this is really happening here,’ and I think that’s what prepares them for when it really hits the fan… you don’t need to be thinking about what you’re going to do and how you would do it when it’s a real emergency,” Corbett explains.  

The four hour exercise featured three separate locations; the old Spencer High School on Victory Drive, Piedmont Uptown, and Cascade Hills Church.

The mock-emergency was weather-centered and included a tornado that had partially collapsed the old Spencer High School, pushing a car against the wall and trapping students inside the building.

Students that were stuck in the building were extracted and taken to Piedmont Uptown, ‘uninjured’ students were taken to Cascade Hills Church to go through a reunification process with parents.

Corbett shares with News 3 the importance of these exercises, and painted a better picture of what responders worked through earlier today.

“The collaboration that went into this exercise was first class. Everything we’ve seen out of it; the rescue efforts that the fire made through a piece of concrete, they had to actually rip apart and cut apart a van that was in theory thrown up against the building. They had to go through that then bore through concrete with rebar to make entry into a collapsed area of the school to remove students out of there, it was just a phenomenal the job that all these first responders did today,” Corbett says.

The event even included a fake news conference from Dr. David Lewis, the Superintendent of Muscogee County School District.