Toxic leaks, downtown Halifax being quarantined, high-ranking politicians making mistakes that cost them their lives — none of these things happened Thursday.

But cabinet ministers pretended they did as part of an exercise to test their emergency preparedness. Early in the morning, ministers were told the imaginary scenario: A fire has broken out, causing toxic chemicals to be released into the downtown core. They would have to gather at a secret, backup meeting place. Emergency Management Minister Ramona Jennex wouldn’t say where the location was, citing security reasons.

“We have a number of locations across HRM that we could have a meeting, so I’m not going to say where we met because security would be important for us during other kinds of scenarios,” she told reporters.

Jennex said the exercise was “very successful,” but there were some communication glitches. Two cabinet ministers — unidentified by Jennex — apparently didn’t get the memo and went right into the supposedly deadly downtown. Jennex said the exercise now allows them to fix the bugs.

Getting ready

Cabinet’s business continuity plan has been in the works for years, but this was its first test.