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City, County Hold Coordinated Attack Exercise

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Fire Chief Charles Hood, County Judge Nelson Wolff, and Police Chief William McManus at the Emergency Operations Center on November 23 2015

Today, San Antonio- area government and emergency agencies tested their ability to respond to a terrorist attack.  The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, military, FBI and Homeland Security joined in on an exercise at the city’s Emergency Operations Center.

About two dozen emergency responders tested how they would react to an attack at the emergency center located at Brooks City Base on San Antonio's South Side.  The simulated exercise assumed that 75 people were killed and 375 injured in a coordinated attack at multiple locations around San Antonio.  It was a scenario very similar to the Paris attacks. 

Fire Chief Charles Hood says the exercise demonstrated that the agencies have robust resources available. “The thing was any one of these incidents would have stressed us beyond our normal capabilities, so how do you manage multiple incidents such as this?”

Hood says this simulation was to help answer that question. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says the crux of it all is communication. “There’s several different agencies that have to respond to something like this, the county, the state, we’ve got 26 other cities in this county, it takes a very coordinated effort  to do that,” Wolff says.

Wolff, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and City Manager Sheryl Scully requested the exercise.  The Mayor says she feels confident that San Antonio is prepared in the event of an attack or natural disaster like the recent flooding or providing aid to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

"In each instance our city and county leaders have risen to the occasion, in large part due to the dedication that our first responders display 24/7 and 365 days of the year." Taylor says she has executive authority administered by the state to issue a declaration of local disaster if an attack were to happen.