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Emergency drill took place Wednesday morning at Lamar University

The drill began at 10 a.m. and lasted for about an hour.

BEAUMONT, Texas — If you saw or heard lots of first responders on or around the Lamar University campus Wednesday morning, don't be alarmed. It was only a drill.

The university conducted a "functional, emergency exercise" along with Lamar Institute of Technology and ExxonMobil from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“Well, what I hope is that we would be better able to respond if there was a scenario like this,” Dr. Cindy Stinson said.

Stinson is the nursing chair at Lamar University.

She's preparing her students on how to respond to a chlorine leak at the ExxonMobil plant near the campus.

“We know that the risk is great because of the area that we live in,” Stinson said.

The drill included nursing students and mock patients.

“The importance of this is that research has shown over and over again that in order to respond appropriately to a scenario like this, it helps to have practice ahead of time,” Stinson said.

Each mock patient presented different side effects that students could experience if exposed to chlorine.

“We do both debriefings before and then after the drill, we will look at and analyze what we did right and what we did wrong,” Stinson said.

ExxonMobil teamed up with Lamar University for the drill.

They released a statement saying in part, "We are prepared for emergencies should they occur and can respond quickly, effectively, and with care to emergencies or incidents resulting from our operations."

Stinson said it's important students get this hands-on experience.

“It's called experiential learning where they get outside the classroom, and they really get to put their knowledge to practice,” Stinson said.

The purpose of the exercise was to test and evaluate the emergency functions of activating the "comprehensive emergency operations plan" to respond to an infrastructure issue by involving employees and students in the drill involving a chlorine leak at ExxonMobil near campus.

Lamar nursing students participated and a mock-triage area was set up at the John Gray Center. Some buildings were evacuated as part of the drill.

During the drill, the emergency notification system was also tested and sent messages prefaced with "THIS IS A TEST OF AN EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM." 

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This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.

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