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Law enforcement training for real world situations at St. Paul's Macalester College

How staged emergency responses help keep the public safe
How staged emergency responses help keep the public safe 02:00

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Multiple law enforcement agencies were on scene at Macalester College Tuesday in St. Paul, but there's nothing to worry about. It was just a drill.

"If there was truly an event here today, most of this area would be shut down," said Assistant Chief Tony Farina with the St. Paul Fire Department. 

Farina is also the hazmat coordinator for St. Paul and one of the state response teams through the State Fire Marshal's Office. He's been helping guide large-scale training for the last 11 years.

In the "real world" exercise, first responders are reacting to a critical situation inside. And with a full hazmat team, police emergency management and even FBI agents on standby, it's all hands on deck. 

"It's not specific to anything," Farina said. "It could be anything from a chemical leak to maybe some drug manufacturing to weapons of mass destruction, nuclear response."


Farina says the exercises help his team better prepare for the real thing.

"It's like anything in the world today. You can always read a book and watch on TV, but until you physically do it, it's hard to remember it and to perform it perfectly," Farina said.

Upwards of 50 first responders got that practice on Tuesday, something leaders in the field say is invaluable.

"It gives our responders an opportunity to work with their counterparts, which they don't often get a chance to do," St. Paul Fire Department District Chief Ro Mokosso said.

Training wrapped up at 6 p.m. Tuesday. 

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