Simulation of high-rise terrorist attack scheduled in Harbor East

A simulated terrorist attack in Harbor East will be conducted Saturday morning to train emergency responders from throughout the Baltimore region on response tactics in the event of large fires or mass casualties in a high-rise building, according to city officials.

The event, which will involve actors playing victims, mock crime scenes and realistic responses from emergency personnel, was organized by the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative, a regional cooperative between Baltimore, Annapolis and five surrounding counties and funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The attack is not real; however, the response will be as realistic as possible," according to a news statement on the exercise.

The Baltimore UASI has delivered more than $100 million to the region since 2003 to help local jurisdictions streamline and improve their collective emergency response capabilities.

The "full-scale exercise" will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and last until 11:30 a.m., and will be followed by a debriefing for participants, officials said. Reports will be generated from the exercise judging how the city and its surrounding jurisdictions performed and making recommendations for improvements.

"The exercise will focus on key local emergency responder coordination, critical decision-making, and integration of the State and Federal assets necessary to save lives and protect the public following a terrorist attack," according to the statement.

Police and fire departments as well as other city agencies, city officials and private-sector partners will be involved in the exercise, officials said.

The jurisdictions involved are Baltimore, Annapolis, and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, Howard and Carroll counties.

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