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16 North Texas Counties Participating In 'Big X' Disaster Drill

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Starting today first responders from more than a dozen North Texas counties are gathering in Fort Worth for a large-scale disaster drill.

The event, called Big X 2016, will simulate emergencies. Molly McFadden, with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, explained, "We'll have several sights where people will be responding to tornados and several other hazards and scenarios, to practice to get better in response and preparedness for terrorism and tornados and all the hazards that we have here."

In all, police, firefighters, public health officials, hospitals and emergency managers from 16 North Texas counties will participate in the three-day event.

McFadden says in addition to learning from the tornado, special weapons and SWAT simulations, the exercises will also focus on improving inter-agency communication. "One of the main components of what we are testing, we're doing this interoperable communications check to see if we have any remaining gaps in technology or training."

The event will have some 3,500 individuals from federal, state and local agencies honing their skills.

Sign will be set up at the dozens of North Texas locations where the simulations will take place, to let people know that a drill is underway and no actual emergency has occurred.

Big X 2016 began this morning at Tarrant County College's Northwest Campus and will run through Sunday.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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