Further information alerted firefighters to some injuries among the crowd attending an event at the raceway.
Upon arrival at the venue, race officials briefed CFA on a more complex situation. As the incident progressed, it was determined there was a terrorism threat.
That was the scenario that faced the group who attended the counter terrorism desktop exercise last Sunday, 15 April.
Thanks to the exercise, fire brigade members in District 23 will now be better prepared to respond to calls during major events.
Former CFA deputy chief officer Geoff Conway led the counter-terrorism exercise, set against a scenario of an issue affecting large crowds at a regional event.
Keeping the details of the incident intentionally vague, so they can be used for a practical exercise next month, Leading Firefighter James Wong said there was lots to be learnt from the session.
“It showed the importance of interagency interoperability, which must incorporate communication. This must occur from the local level to the Incident Management Team level and all the way to the Emergency Management Team level,” he said.
“There also needs to be significant consideration of broader community consequences with respect to preparedness, prevention, response and recovery.”
As well as CFA, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the Environmental Protection Agency, representatives from Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla Health and Benalla Rural City attended the exercise.
LFF Wong said the exercise also highlighted the need for timely, accurate and relevant public information, especially with the widespread use of social media and online reporting.
The lessons learnt at the Winton training session will be used in practical exercises at Winton Raceway on 12 May and Yarra Valley Racing Centre on 3 June where CFA will focus on public decontamination response.