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Large-scale emergency response drill in D.C. area this week

Sunday - 10/16/2011, 11:15am  ET

LORTON, Va. - Don't be scared if you see some unusual emergency response activity in the region this week, it's probably part of an elaborate drill.

The training is part of the annual "Capital Shield" exercises, where military and civilian emergency medical personnel train together.

"It's an excellent training opportunity for those of us in the Department of Defense and our civilian peers," says retired Navy Captain Gene Smallwood, who came up with the scenario for this year's exercise.

It begins bright and early Wednesday at a training site in Lorton. This year's scenario involves a weather disaster, a terror attack and a hospital collapse.

Military and EMS crews from Northern Virginia will treat and transport the victims to hospitals in Maryland.

"We will kick off the actual training scenario at about 8:15 in the morning and we will be flying casualties out the hospitals all the way up to 3 in the afternoon," says Smallwood.

The hospitals involved include Holy Cross, Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Suburban and Washington Adventist.

WTOP's Paula Wolfson contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)