Local first responders participate in terrorist attack drill ahead of Carnival season

Mardi Gras Safety Drill

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - We’re entering the busy stretch of the Carnival season and today New Orleans first responders were put up to the test.

Simulated explosions were used to see how ready responders are if there was a terrorist attack during Carnival.

Homeland Security had mock floats and even volunteers, everything they needed to stimulate Mardi Gras to test how first responders will act.

Responders reacted to mock explosions and a fake active shooter.

When the explosion went off, you can see the volunteers go down on the tarp and officers tried to bring down the shooter.

All of this, again, is a drill to see the readiness of responders during a mass casualty event.

From police to EMS and area hospitals, everyone plugged in during testing.

The Director of Homeland Security Collin Arnold says he also chose a car ramming scenario as one of the drills because of incidents like that is meant to distract law enforcement from a larger threat.

“The complex coordinating attack is a little bit more than active shooter. It’s usually a precipitating event like a vehicle ramming or an explosion followed by an active shooter, or an active aggressor would be the better term because you do have knife attacks. But what it’s meant to do is, it’s meant to distract and overwhelm law enforcement initially at the scene,” says Arnold. “That was why we chose it because that international terror nexus leads toward a complex coordinated attack.”

It took about eight months to plan Friday’s drill. City officials say they expect to do more drills like this moving forward.

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