LISTEN: Federal and state agencies joined forces last week to train and coordinate for a possible nuclear detonation scenario. However as GPB’s Amanda Andrews explains, the event was designed to educate and not based on an immediate threat.

Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency coordinated with federal and state agencies to host a nuclear response exercise. The three-day training event wasn’t based on any real threats.

AFCEMA Battalion Chief Chayne Sparagowski said the point of the training is learning collaboration in an emergency.

“This type of exercise really helps us work together for future responses, whether it's something natural disaster-related or the unthinkable, like a radiation event from a nuclear weapon,” he said.

Over the course of three days, military members, first responders and volunteers worked together acting out scenarios of decontaminating humans and animals. Tents were set up in which volunteers, posing as the injured and contaminated, were sprayed down.

Eric Miller with the Northern Command said the drills may appear strange from the outside.

“A lot of the people look like they're, you know, spacemen or women," Miller said. "They're in Tyvek suits to help save them from any contamination; they've got respirators on. So it's a little intimidating if you're just passing by.”

AFCEMA had been planning the event since 2020. Nick Farley is the EMA volunteer coordinator who assigns people scenarios to act out.

“So this one, this patient is 16 years old," Farley said, describing one scenario. "No obvious trauma. So there's not any visible injuries and they're not responsive. So they're not responding when you shake their shoulder, anything like that.”

AFCEMA reports over 700 people participated in the exercises. Some scenarios involved a lost child or spouse to help train responders on reunifying families and sharing information through the Family Assistance Center.