Hundreds of Cleveland's first responders participate in emergency drill at Progressive Field

CLEVELAND - Mock gunfire, a fake explosion and a fictitious hostage situation took place at Progressive Field Tuesday as part of a coordinated emergency drill with the Cleveland Indians and the city's first responders.

"This exercise today represented a complex and realistic problem that required our responders to think on their feet," said Cmdr. Ed Tomba of the Cleveland police.

Hundreds of response crews, which included Cleveland police, fire, EMS, SWAT, FBI as well as other agencies, participated in the four-hour event. The Cleveland Indians crisis management team also assisted.

"We are better prepared today to handle a major emergency than we were yesterday," said Bobby DiBiasio, vice-president of public relations for the Cleveland Indians.

When the drill started, crews entered the stadium to rescue mock victims. Others set up a security perimeter around the ballpark or constructed wooden barricades for structural support. Part of the drill called for crews to respond to structural problems following the explosion.

"It's important to have these kinds of live exercises just to work any bugs out in the system, make sure that if it really does happen here in Cleveland, we're going to be ready, " said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who was observing the event.

Officials said the drill was being planned over the past six months, but the recent events in Boston emphasized the need for regular trainings.

"Preparedness is key in a situation like this," said Tomba who added that another drill will be held in Cleveland later this year.

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