OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The retired movie theater on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs got a dose of bustling activity on Monday. The action wasn't on the screen this time around.
It looked like a dramatic scene you might have watched on the silver screen in the old building decades ago. Flashing lights, fog machines and rescue crews; all for a training exercise.
"We're going to pretend that this is a nightclub, two-story, that actually collapsed. We're going to have multiple victims out here and the triage system," said Lt. Brad Chennault, with the Ocean Springs Fire Department.
The triage system is used by first responders to assess situations and define priorities. Those who are alive are the priority, and those who can't be helped have to be passed by.
Together, the Ocean Springs Fire Department and Acadian Ambulance Service hosted the training. It provided these first responders with a chance to work under pressure.
"When their minds are going a thousand miles an hour, are they going to remember to check for overhead obstructions? Are they going to remember to turn off utilities," said Training Chief David Wicker.
According to Wicker, the fire crews constantly train, but not like this. On this scene, there was actual debris and actual people posing as victims, like Battalion Chief David Fisher.
"With people hollering and stuff, it gets chaotic sometimes, and it just gets them a little bit calmer in real life if it happens," said Fisher.
For firefighters, like Lt. Phillip Dees, this is just a chance to practice the strategies and techniques they should already know.
"We'll slow it down and work one problem at a time," Dees said.
After all, practice makes perfect. If a situation like this were ever to arise, that's exactly what these responders would hope to achieve.
"The more you train, the more prepared you are, the more you know how to respond," said Dees.
This training will be happening again Tuesday and Wednesday.
Officials said the day was made possible with the help of the Ocean Springs School District and Police Department.
The school district now owns the dormant building. It hopes to have a bigger training session sometime this summer.