The police and fire departments launched a massive counterterrorism drill Sunday at Leon M. Goldstein High School to test officers’ response to tactics used in recent terror attacks around the world.
More than 200 first responders participated in the exercise, which took place within the Kingsborough Community College campus. The operation simulated a situation involving as many as six active shooters, hostages, explosives and a drone carrying deadly chemicals, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Today’s event at a school is intended to keep practicing what we’re learning from these various terrorist events from around the world,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton reportedly said during a press conference after the event.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
In the staged attack, NYPD officers arrived to find people shot on the street. Officers from the 61st Precinct, the first on the scene, battled a pair of shooters just outside the school before entering the building. Once inside, they were joined by emergency-service officers who then battled shooters on the second floor.
Improvised explosive devices were detonated on the third floor, much like at the Bataclan theater in Paris. One floor up, hostages were barricaded in classrooms, some strapped with suicide vests.
More emergency-service personnel, flown in by helicopter, rappelled onto the school’s roof to help quell the threat.
Officers also dealt with the aftermath of a simulated drone attack that sprayed cyanide in the school’s parking lot and had to snuff out a potential explosive device in a van before the drill was over.
Authorities told the New York Post the training operation was the city’s largest ever “active-shooter” operation and the ninth of its kind since 2014.
There were also 60-plus cadets who represented victims and hostages during the drill. FDNY Chief Joseph Pfeifer said the exercise was as much about saving lives as stopping the bad guys, according to the Post.
“NYPD came in and stopped the killing by engaging with the terrorists, engaging with the shooter,” Pfeifer said. “Behind them, the fire department, EMS came in, and we stopped the dying by controlling bleeding, and getting the patients out.”