FAIRFIELD - Police officers from southwestern Connecticut communities participated Tuesday in a unique training class, which uses models to simulate actual critical situations.

Though the set-up looks more like matchbox cars and toy towns, instructors say the training mimics real situations and prepares officers for real emergencies.

One of the situations simulated in the training included a road accident with a school bus and truck. The trainees had to make decisions about how to handle an acetone spill and a rescue mission of children trapped on the bus, as well as dealing with traffic control, crowds and the media.

Fairfield?s deputy chief officer instructed the officers from Bridgeport, Stamford and Weston, as well as the Fairfield Fire Department.

During the training, an acting supervisor must direct police units without touching the board. All directives must be communicated to the units through dispatch.

?It's very easy if they were able to put the police cars where they want them, but in real life they can't pick up the cars to move them,? Deputy Chief Gary MacNamara says. ?They have to communicate.?