Preparing for a Terrorist Attack

Emergency responders often try to train for a worst-case scenario. How would they respond to a terrorist attack during Boomsday? Sixteen counties answered the call to just such a drill Saturday morning.

The Boomsday celebration turned Labor Day into tragedy.

"A nerve agent would have been released using an explosive device into the crowd at Boomsday," said Tony Blair from Fort Sanders.

Hundreds of people are exposed to a deadly chemical agent and emergency responders from 16 East Tennessee counties are activated.

"We're going to go ahead and set up for a contingency plan. We're going to set the second shelter up in case we have an overflow," said Howie Rose with Homeland Security.

And treatment at local hospitals: Fort Sanders Regional Hospital receives dozens of patients injured in the attack. Emergency room workers have set up the hospital's decontamination shelter to screen, isolate, decontaminate and treat infected and injured patients.

"Whether it be people that had such a severe exposure that they may be having seizures and other symptoms that go along with nerve agent up to trauma from explosions or even being trampled in crowds."

Fortunately this is just practice, the scenario is imagined, and the patients are really actors.

"And this exercise is just the next step in that process of becoming more productive in our ability to serve the public in taking care of their safety and wellbeing."