KIMBERLY, Idaho (KLIX) – About 25 agencies gathered Wednesday at Rock Creek Rural Fire Department for a tabletop exercise on a cold chemical incident. It was the first of several training exercises planned this year by Twin Falls County.

The class instructed agencies how to better collaborate with each other in the event of a chemical emergency. Future training will highlight other emergency scenarios.

“It was extremely helpful,” said Ron Aguirre, battalion chief for Twin Falls Fire Department. “What we learned today was what some of our strengths are and some things we need to improve.”

One scenario, he said: a vehicle accident with multiple casualties and a chemical spill. Responding to such an emergency would involve several agencies – communications staff, fire department, paramedics, police, community health department, hospital, coroner and others.

Some emergencies cross not only jurisdictional borders, but also department ones. It’s important that each department know how to coordinate with each other and plan beforehand, Aguirre said, so that when on scene they can focus on the emergency.

The Wednesday event, which went from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and involved mostly leadership, was a good kickoff to the future training events planned in March and May, said Jackie Frey, coordinator with Twin Falls County Department of Emergency Services. The training involved agency leadership and coordinators. A full-scale training on May 18 at the Twin Falls County Fairgrounds will involve more emergency crew and staff.

“I was very pleased with it,” Frey said of the tabletop training. “I think everyone added a lot to it and that is important to what we do.”