A massive multiday emergency training exercise returns to North Texas this week to test the skills of first responders.
The North Central Texas Council of Governments and dozens of other federal, state and local agencies have scheduled Big X 2016 for Nov. 11-13 at more than 40 locations in North Texas.
At Tarrant County College Fire Service Training Center on Marine Creek Parkway in Fort Worth, for example, participants will respond as though a tornado has touched down, damaging buildings and injuring people. At the Fort Worth fire training and tactical village on Felix Street, responders will deal with a simulated ammonia leak.
More scenarios will be enacted at those locations and others, including the former Dempsey Heliport in Palo Pinto, Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in McKinney, and the Dodd J. Miller Training Center in Dallas.
The 16-county event is a follow-up to the Urban Shield exercise in 2013.
“This exercise allows emergency responders, government staff and regional partners to fine-tune emergency response plans,” Ryan Grelle said in a Big X news release. Grelle is a Denton public information officer.
“The exercise itself is of no cause for alarm. Parents in the area are encouraged to explain what is taking place in an age-appropriate manner to their children to lessen the chance that they will be frightened should they witness any of the exercise.”
Officials said the three-day event will be a way for first responders to exercise tactical skills and response capabilities, and coordinate operations.
Area teams that will participate include special weapon and tactics (SWAT), urban search and rescue (USAR), emergency management, public health, hazardous material response (HazMat), explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), interoperable communications, community emergency response team (CERT), and wildland fire.
Officials will evaluate and identify areas for improvement, in areas such as communications, planning, training and equipment.
For information, check out the Big X 2016 website at www.bigx2016.org.
By the numbers
Here are some estimates for the three-day event:
- 44 total scenarios
- 40 estimated venues throughout North Texas
- 21 SWAT teams
- 17 area emergency-management departments
- 15 CERT teams
- 12 USAR teams
- 11 EOD groups
- 10 HazMat teams
- 8 North Texas fire departments
Source: North Central Texas Council of Governments