North Idaho

Crews train for terrorist attack at Silverwood

Crews train for terrorist attack at Silverwood

ATHOL, Idaho - You know it's time to head to Scarywood if you're feeling the need to be frightened, but on Tuesday the ghouls and goblins had to step aside as first responders practiced dealing with an act of terrorism.

It's a terrible thing to think about: terrorists striking at the heart of America by targeting one of our theme parks. But, being scared is not a reason to not be prepared.

Terrorists want us to be afraid to live our lives the way we want to, including having fun with our friends and family. However, Silverwood Theme Park is not afraid to acknowledge this park or other tourist attractions could be targeted. Silverwood wants to be prepared.

The first simulated calls for help went out at about 11 a.m.

In the drill, someone had found a suspicious device in the tunnel Silverwood guests use to safely get under Highway 95.

"We've had two people collapse with what appeared to be heart attacks, and they we're doing CPR, and other folks around those victims started to act strange," said Kootenai County Sheriff's Captain Andy Boyle.

The growing number of patients and the fact the tunnel was tarped off with something that resembled an anarchy symbol, prompted a large response from fire and emergency medical services.

"There were not victims in there, it was just a fire. The fire department was able to respond and extinguish the fire and secure that area, but we can't use it because it could possibly collapse," said Boyle.

Arriving crews had to use Silverwood's back entrance to reach their patients.

Victims, who appeared dazed or delirious had to be physically escorted to paramedics for treatment and decontamination. And all of that without damaging evidence in a crime scene.

"The biggest thing is to bring everybody together, train for this event in case it ever happens," said Boyle. "You work together on communications, you put faces to names, and you actually go out and work with each other in a simulated situation."

Suprisingly, Silverwood welcomed the exercise. It was a chance to practice taking care of its guests and employees.

"If we can be a venue to help the emergency response teams respond, I think we're happy to do that, and it only helps us in the event of a real incident," said Silverwood spokesman Mark Robitaille.

Because of the drill, the next time you head to Silverwood, you are likely a little safer. That's good news because Scarywood starts up again Thursday night.