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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Schools Police entered an elementary school in full Hazmat gear Monday. They found a student on the ground, a back pack nearby and what appeared to be a chemical or biological weapon–this was all part of an emergency drill held Monday at Key Biscayne K-8 Center.

During the drill, first responders moved quickly to search for more possible victims.

“The purpose of this is to have us at the ready to deal with any type of emergency,” said Sgt. Richard Rostrelli, of the Miami-Dade Schools Police. “We need a quick response and we need to train with other agencies to make sure we work together well.”

In all, eight agencies from Miami-Dade and Broward, along with state law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, took part in the drill. Dressed in bright yellow jackets, evaluators were there to make sure the emergency response went according to plan.

“The evaluators come from different agencies and different disciplines so we are making sure we look at this every possible way so we can improve our response and improve our training,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett.

Key Biscayne Fire Rescue crews were also on hand to assist in the drill. In a real life emergency, the first responders would be equipped with special detection equipment, sampling devices and containment tools, as well as specialized medication for the victims.

But those who took part in the training say the drill is one of the best ways to be prepared for an emergency.

“It’s like a trial run, muscle memory,” said Key Biscayne Fire Rescue engineer/driver Candice Roig. “This brings down the level of anxiety in the event of a real emergency.”

Given what’s happening across the country, school police officials say the training is essential, with the school year scheduled to start August 24 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“Look at what’s happened in South Carolina with the church shooting, and the shootings at recruiting stations and military bases. The schools are considered soft targets and we need to be prepared for any eventuality,” Moffett said.

Eliott Rodriguez

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