ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- To better handle emergencies on a much larger scale, 80 first responders from around the Stateline are in Maryland for some special training this week.
Thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Stateline firefighters, police, city leaders and other groups will take part in a five day long drill to learn to work together and save lives in case of a major natural disaster, like a tornado.
"We practice as much as we can in our area with small table tops of full scale exercises but to have the opportunity to bring 80 individuals that we would be operating with on a daily basis together through one area and have that in a controlled environment to work through a disaster is going to be a tremendous learning environment for everyone who attends," Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten, said.
Members of the local Red Cross, Salvation Army and YWCA are also on the trip to learn what roles that would play in the face of a catastrophe. The group doesn't know what kind of disaster they'll have to respond to so that the drill is as life like as possible.