Homeland Defense Exercises Held at the Savannah Ports - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/12/03

Homeland Defense Exercises Held at the Savannah Ports

It's a plan many hope never has to be put into action...but a plan that needs to be in place.

"It's to test the quick reaction forces and ability to prevent any terrorist activity at the ports," says Georgia Ports Captain, Tim Close.

Possible terrorist activities that everyone from local law enforcement, to the Georgia National Guard to heads of homeland defense were preparing for at today's exercise.

It all started with a possible bomb found in a container. The container was first surveyed through emergency response teams, then x-rayed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and finally detonate by the bomb squad

'The best part is people can put names and faces together. These are the actual people that will respond if there was an emergency, " continues Close.

Planning for this exercise started days ago. The defense team actually are making believe they found documents on an alleged Al-Qaida member that led them to the container.

"After today I know we are prepared. The objective of the exercise was to defeat and deter Al-Quaida, and after today we definitely deterred them," said Major Mike Scholes of the Georgia Department of Defense.

Officials say the exercise went off without a hitch, but efforts to improve homeland security will never end.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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