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This is only a test

Emergency personnel unite for response exercises

Police, fire, health and other municipal officials share ideas of how to address the scenario. (click for larger version)
December 15, 2011
STURBRIDGE — On Friday, Aug. 19, a large swath of Sturbridge and part of Southbridge was blanketed in deadly chlorine gas. At least three people died, many others went to hospitals, hundreds were evacuated, traffic was tied up for miles in any direction, and the Quinebaug River was contaminated.

OK — it didn't happen in real life, but police, fire, health and other emergency response personnel in town spent Tuesday morning pretending it did as one of their three annual exercises to test their response methods.

"I'm glad we have exercised — it shows we have prepared and are ready, but can be better in several areas," said Police Chief Thomas Ford afterward, noting the test revealed a need to work on communications, especially if people being called in need to change where they're going. "In this situation, we're not going to save everybody's lives, but we will save some people's lives."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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