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SEATTLE-A congressionally-mandated exercise to test local, regional, state and federal responses to terrorism is taking place in Seattle this week.

The main event of TOPOFF 2 has Seattle police and firefighters, along with health experts, county, state and federal officials responding to a simulated radiological dispersal device in south Seattle. The “dirty bomb” exercise began Monday and will run continuously for 36 hours.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency are directing federal participation and oversight of the exercise. Visible, full-scale play ends on May 14th. A scaled down, table-top exercise will continue through the end of the week but there will be no public interaction.

Most exercise activity will be on a vacant lot in the 2900 block of Airport Way South, across from the Tully’s Coffee roasting plant. To facilitate exercise activity, Seattle Police will close the southbound curb lane of Airport Way South from South Walker to South Spokane Street from 8 a.m. Monday, May 12 until 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 14. Businesses in the area will remain open as usual.

Some “fake” environmental monitoring will occur in West Seattle’s Alki neighborhood, Magnolia, Ballard and parts of the Downtown waterfront. Residents may see people working in pairs, dressed in hazardous materials suits simulating the collection of environmental samples in these neighborhoods. Fliers informing residents and businesses are being distributed in these areas to ensure businesses and residents understand the current activities are a test-run only.

The state of Washington, Seattle and King County will share an estimated $2 million in federal funds to offset costs associated with participating in the exercise. Most of the funding will be used for exercise planning and to defray costs associated with around-the-clock operations. Seattle was one of two cities to accept an invitation last fall from the U.S. Department of Justice and State Department to participate in TOPOFF 2. In Chicago, there will be a simulated biological attack.

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