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Three-Day Emergency Exercise Gets Under Way

Responders from around Santa Clara County are learning how to respond to a crisis involving a large crowd.

Santa Clara County firefighters and emergency medical responders began a group training today that will help them prepare for a crisis involving a large crowd.

The training, held in a now-closed Century movie theater at 1171 N. Capitol Ave. in San Jose, lets participants practice dealing with the kind of large-scale emergency that might occur at a rave, concert or sporting event, organizers said.

Over the course of the three days, about 300 first responders will participate, said Josh Davies, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Agency, which is organizing the training.

Davies said it makes sense for responders from different agencies to train together.

"We all use the same procedure for this type of event, regardless of who you work for," Davies said.

He said the simulation gives responders the chance to practice protocol and test equipment they might not use on a regular basis.

Participants spend the mornings reviewing how to handle transportation accidents, hazardous materials, large gatherings and disaster situations. In the afternoons, they participate in simulated emergencies.

The county organizes similar trainings each year. In previous years, first responders have trained for scenarios like wildfires and emergencies involving high-rise buildings, Davies said.

Although Davies did not know the total price tag of the training, he said the county received $25,000 from the Department of Homeland Security to fund the three-day exercise.

--Bay City News Service

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