Tampa Bay area prepared for attack - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa Bay area prepared for attack

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We saw good examples of ramped up planning and security during last summer's Republican National Convention. Besides the show of force, Tampa Police used information; they call it "intelligence" to prevent problems. But since  9/11, even smaller events get special attention. "Everything that has a lot of people coming to it, crowds gather, you're gonna have to take the precautions and the preparedness, but that doesn't start on event day" said Assistance Police Chief in Tampa, John Bennett.

Tampa has played host to events that bring international attention. The 2009 Super bowl warranted extra manpower, equipment and training. The Gasparilla Distance Classic is another event that brings out additional officers ready to react in the event of a problem.

In addition to law enforcement, Tampa Fire Rescue has more than 600 members who are trained, equipped and ready to respond. "We have put plans together, and I believe we would be able to respond quickly, and mitigate it quickly, and render as much care, as quickly as possible and save as many lives as possible" said Special Operations Chief Emilio Salabarria.

Some of that training came into play last week, when sewage gas overwhelmed contract workers doing a job at the Port of Tampa. The gas claimed one life and sickened several others.

Tampa has agreements with other bay area departments that will rush to help if called upon. Again, prevention is key, and that's where the public can help. "If you see something out there that looks suspicious, say something. The national campaign is see something, say something" said Chief Salabarria. 

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