05-02-08 - Massive Weekend Multi- Agency Training Exercise
Boise, May 2, 2007 - Boise Police, Boise Fire, Ada County EMS and Ada County Dispatch will be training together in, what's designed to be the largest multi-agency training ever for Boise City emergency responders.
The coordinated training will be an all night exercise this weekend. The main goal is to better prepare first responders for a worst-case scenario; an active shooting at a large, crowded public place. In this case, the emergency training scenario is set at Boise’s busiest, largest, and most popular shopping area, the Boise Towne Square Mall.
More than 200 first responders and supervisors will go through the training.
Goals of the Training:
- To practice and evaluate the ability of Boise’s first responders to manage an incident that requires immediate, coordinated action, with the goal of saving lives.
- To strengthen and test inter-agency cooperation and communication, including use of the new 700 mgh radio system.
- To identify areas where additional training, equipment, or procedures may be improved.
“This is the type of training we hope we never have to use, but must be prepared for,” said Boise Police Captain Eugene Smith, head of the Boise PD Bench Patrol Division. “Lessons learned from training at a large mall could be applied to a similar emergency in any large public venue anywhere in the City.”
“We approached the Boise Police and offered our mall so officers and emergency responders could be better equipped to handle a crisis we never want to see in Boise, but have seen happen elsewhere,” said Mike Enslow, General Manager of the Boise Towne Square Mall.
“Safety for our customers and employees is paramount for us, and we know training here at the mall could also help emergency workers be better prepared for such a situation elsewhere.”said Enslow.
Media Opportunities for Coverage:
Sunday, May 4:
3:00 p.m. – News Briefing, Boise Towne Square Mall parking lot (between sizzler & Dillard’s). Boise Police Capt. Eugene Smith will be available to preview plans and goals of training.
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Live Shot opportunity: BTS Mall has OK’d live shots for those TV news stations who would like to provide preview coverage. Please park the live vans in the northeast corner of the mall lot, closest to Cole & Emerald for least public disruption during business hours. This is also adjacent to the exercise staging area so anyone interested in a Sunday 10:00 p.m. live shot, or a 5 – 7:00 a.m. live shot Monday morning, this is the best parking location. Thank you.
8:00 p.m. – Exercise begins. Media will have opportunity to tape/shoot from staging areas outside the mall. Boise Police PIO Lynn Hightower will be on site for assistance.
8:00 p.m. – approx 2:00 a.m. - Training scenarios are planned to begin every hour on the hour with different teams of officers, firefighters, paramedics, and dispatchers. Training will involve police, fire, EMS vehicles entering mall parking lot from the north entrance (near Applebees) and the east entrance (near the Sizzler), and enter the mall near Dillards east entrance and Sears upper level west entrance. Two scenarios will go at once using different sections of the mall.
8:00 p.m. – Pool coverage provided. Boise Police Public Information will provide video and stills of training from inside the mall. As this is a tactical exercise for police, to make the training as realistic as possible for first responders and mall security, media coverage from inside the mall is restricted.
9:00 p.m. – Live shot opportunity for Fox 12 news, if interested. Live vans must be parked in media staging area (northeast corner of mall parking lot) so as not to interfere with emergency vehicles in training.
9:15 p.m. – Press Briefing – Media Staging area, update on status of exercise. This may go earlier if possible, depending on the timing of the first series of exercises, which will be completed. Speakers: TBA (I'm expecting agency chiefs & mall general manager).
9:15 p.m. - Pool video/stills released (this is a target time, we're aware of deadlines and will get this out asap).
10:00 p.m. – Live shot opportunities for interested TV news stations. Live vans must be parked in media staging area (northeast corner of mall parking lot) so as not to interfere with emergency vehicles in training.
Monday, May 5:
approx. 2:45 a.m. – Training exercise expected to conclude.
4:00 a.m. – Press Briefing. Media Staging Area. Agency representatives, BTS Mall General Manager are expected to speak on outcome of training exercise. We do expect to release additional pool video/stills at this time.
About the Training:
- The training scenario will be that of an “active shooter” situation inside the mall with several casualties. Two similar scenarios will be played at one time, every hour on the hour for different teams of emergency responders.
- For purposes of the training, first responders will be called to the mall after citizens report a gunman inside with several people injured. Further details given to responders may include conflicting information (which is typical of any developing situation) which responders will have to analysis to locate the suspect(s).
- Responders will be evaluated on:
- how quickly they assess the situation and recognize the best response through previous training to insure public and officer safety.
- how well they communicate within their own agency and others.
- how well they coordinate medical assistance to the wounded.
- how they recognize and preserve the crime scene for further investigation.
- Officers involved will not have or use live ammunition in the drill. Weapons used by police officers for the training will be air soft pellet guns and shotgun blanks . Use of the simunitions is meant to make the training realistic, but prevent human injury or property damage.
- Thanks go out to Boise Towne Square Mall managers who offered the site to local agencies as a training site.
- BTS Mall has a sophisticated security system that will be used as part of this exercise.
- Emergency vehicles responding will not use sirens during the training as a courtesy to nearby residents and hotel guests.
- Public access to the mall will be allowed but limited during the training (see below).
- No mall store employees or customers will be in the area of the mall being used for the exercise during the training.
Public Access to the BTS Mall during the Training Exercise:
- Mall area businesses scheduled to stay open while the training is taking place will still remain open, but access to the inside of the mall, and to roads on the north and east end of the mall will be restricted.
- North and East roads leading to the mall will be closed to the public from approx 7:00 p.m. (when most mall retailers close), to Sunday, May 4 to approx 3:00 a.m., Monday, May 5, to allow access for emergency vehicles and personnel in training.