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NLV Holds Mock Disaster Drill | News

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NLV Holds Mock Disaster Drill

How prepared are first responders to handle a real emergency in Clark County? A full scale exercise drill involving a mock earthquake and ammonia leak put their skills to the test Tuesday.

Preparation is key and Clark County's first responders were put to the test. “This is like playing football -- go out and practice and be better prepared for game day,” said North Las Vegas Fire Department Captain Cedric Williams.

Finding out how well they work with multiple jurisdictions is the biggest challenge. The mock situation starts with a 4.2 magnitude earthquake leading to an ammonia leak at U.S. Food Services. People inside the building had to be evacuated and those who were outside were decontaminated and sent to the hospital.

SLIDESHOW: North Las Vegas Holds Mock Disaster Drill

Behind the scenes, homes in a three to five mile radius also got calls to evacuate to a safe place. The incident commander may call the shots, but every department and team plays a crucial roll.

Everything is carefully planned -- even a mock news conference. Normally, the chief of fire, chief of police and the mayor would give us the latest updates, so the media can update viewers on what's going on. It's a streamline of communication.

The drill not only prepares crews for the real thing, but also qualifies them to get millions in grant money from the Department of Homeland Security. But the experience is invaluable.

“We come out and if something on the fly occurs, we make sure we are prepared for it and we do that by continuous training,” said Capt. Williams.

Last year, Clark County received $18 million in grant money for things like this. The money was used to pay for the mock drill and purchase personal safety equipment.