NEWPORT NEWS More than 400 members of the military and law enforcement agencies across Hampton Roads are taking part in an exercise called the 2011 Hampton Roads Full Scale Exercise.
Tuesday's exercises were devoted to protecting against a maritime threat. The scenario was that a hazardous materials teams from Newport News and York county were dispatched to a merchant vessel, and a chemical lab to manufacture weapons of mass destruction was supposedly discovered on board.
'You're bringing in the haz mat, the maritime response team and the local hazardous materials and the state folks and to bring all of those disciplines together and throw them in the maritime environment truly heightens things so that it so much more valuable, said Bill Burket with Virginia Port Authority.
In all, representatives from 31 local, state and federal agencies are taking part in the training, coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The exercise is funded by a $2.3 million dollar Department of Defense appropriation secured by fourth district Congressman Randy Forbes and Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner.
'We take it very seriously,' said Bob Spieldenner with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 'We have got some homeland security funds to put in to make sure that we are prepared in the commonwealth. 9-11, the pentagon is in Virginia, so we have experienced terrorism in Virginia. We want to make sure that we're prepared no matter what.'
The exercise continues Wednesday in Suffolk with a simulated hostage situation. Thursday in Norfolk, there will be a mass casualty event and victim extraction and triage.