Ohio prepares for possible coordinated attack with simulated exercise

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On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) will test its response capabilities to a complex, coordinated attack during an exercise that will take place in two separate locations.

It’s the first time ODPS has put a majority of the Department’s divisions to the test with a multi-location, simultaneous attack.

“Communication moves faster than ever, so public safety has to move equally as fast,” says Rick Zwayer, executive director for Ohio Homeland Security (OHS).

It will look at “how we deal with communications, gathering of information, sharing of intelligence, working with partners and all of that culminated in a full-scale exercise,” said Zwayer on 10 This Morning with anchors Angela An and Pete Scalia.

Given recent terrorist attacks around the world that involved multiple locations at once, Director Zwayer says today’s training is critical.

The scenarios will involve the OHS along with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The agencies started meeting in January with tabletop exercises to give responding agencies opportunities to shore up policies, plans and procedures should a complex coordinated attack happen in Ohio.

Some examples of the tabletop exercises included:

  • Someone posing as a cable repairman to gain access to the state office building
  • A stolen police cruiser where weapons and tactical vest were stolen
  • Bomb-making materials and maps found inside a hotel room
  • Potential terror groups targeting multiple sites over the next 48 hours
  • Active shooter at state officers and college campuses
  • Explosion inside a suburban mall

Director Zwayer also says it is important for people to understand the nature behind “see something, say something,” the campaign to get the public to report suspicious activity. (1-877-OHS-INTEL)

In May, Zwayer says a person was indicted for allegedly supporting ISIS after federal investigators received information from the public that led to a lengthy investigation.

Spot the 8 signs of terrorism here.