More than 100 local emergency responders reacted to a simulated bomb threat and staged mass shooting Saturday as part of a large-scale training exercise.
The training, on the campus of Bethel University in Arden Hills, prepared local agencies to work together, said Ramsey County sheriff's spokesman Randy Gustafson.
That's the only way local law enforcement and public safety agencies can muster the resources necessary to respond to a major emergency, he said.
"The reality of how we work here is that we have to work together, bringing in smaller agencies supporting each other so that we can provide a unified response," Gustafson said.
About 35 volunteers served as actors who, with makeup, made the scenes realistic, Gustafson said, adding that they were designed by the team that runs the county's seasonal haunted house, Fright Farm.
"The first one, we staged it like it was a graduation at the college. The fire alarm is pulled, the bomb threat kind of is announced, all of these people are coming out," he said. "As the first responders came up and the fire arrived, the first person out to tell the fire what was going on, they were both shot like an active shooter."
Responders had to deal with the simulated shooting, triage the victims and sort out facts from misinformation, he said. The second scenario involved a bomb threat.
Agencies involved in the exercise also included Ramsey County Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Roseville, Mounds View and New Brighton police departments.
The Bethel University event was the second of three training events planned. The third is scheduled for October at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.