Daytona Beach News journal

'Realistic' terror drill response slated

Last update: June 06, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES -- A terrorism response exercise set for Tuesday afternoon by local, state and federal agencies is designed to be as realistic as possible.

But officials don't want people living or working in the area to panic when emergency teams from across the county respond to the scene after an airplane is apparently shot down by terrorists, clipping an area hotel before crashing into the ocean.

It's a test. It's only a test. And the exercise, punctuated by loud noises created by pyrotechnics, is not open to the public.

The staging area along South Atlantic Avenue between Thames Avenue and Beachcomber Avenue, will be closed Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, will be closed from 11 tonight until 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"As far as we know, no other county on the east coast of the United States has exercised this scenario," according to Jim Mauney, deputy fire chief for Volusia County Emergency Management. It's being funded in part with a $30,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness.

Responders to the exercise will include the Volusia County Beach Patrol, fire and law enforcement teams from the county and area cities, local hospitals, EVAC Ambulance, Delta Airlines, the U.S. Coast Guard, and several other agencies.

"This exercise is a logistical challenge and throws in the dynamics of an unpredictable ocean," said Bill Bussinger, a deputy Beach Patrol chief. "There is also the aspect of securing the scene and evidence