Forsyth County Emergency Management holds Homeland Security exercise

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — Road closures, flashing lights, terrorist activities.

It all looked real but in reality it was all part of a homeland security exercise in Forsyth County near Kernersville.

It all went down on Union Cross Road just north of Interstate 40.

The scenerio brought together more than 100 emergency responders from across the state to deal with murder suspects and a few surprises.

It started around 8 a.m. when swat teams entered two residence on Union Cross Road finding a meth lab in one and explosives, classified as IEDs, in the other.

“Obviously those serving the search warrants did not expect this. That was part of the training. We try to make these as realistic as possible” said August Vernon with the Forsyth County Office of Emergency Management.

That realism brought in the firefighter, hazmat teams, bomb squads and various other local, state and military officials to be part of the drill that combined the drug culture of meth making with a possible terrorist plot in the making.

People who live nearby had been warned earlier in the week about the exercise and that seemed to pique the curiosity of some who stood by with cameras and binoculars in hand.

Unlike a TV dramas that portray these scenes unfolding in 30 minutes to an hours, the real thing, even training events like this, takes time.

“Kind of takes a while to figure it out because these are situations you just can’t run into. That’s why you’ll see them wearing the proper personal protective equipment.” said Vernon.

The participants also had to deal with the media as if the situation was real, providing occasional updates to reporters standing by at a safe distance.

Today that was the duty of Kernersville police detective Ryan McGee.

“It’s training for multiple agencies to come and coordinate together to see that they can all work together incase you do have a real situation like this,” McGee said.

Even as it may produce a minor inconvenience for neighbors and people needing to travel this road the training makes the community safer.

“When something does happen you want these people to be able to do the job they’re supposed to be doing,” said a long time area resident, Mike Zielinski.