Don't panic. This is only a test.

The FBI will hold a tactical response exercise Thursday evening at Hayward's Southland Mall starting at 10 p.m.

The operation is not related to any threat at the shopping center, but is a training exercise intended to give agents a chance to practice responding to a terrorist attack or a situation involving a "live active shooter," according to the agency.

"We usually train in our own venues, but we can't create a mall," said Brian Weber, an FBI spokesman.

The agency is partnering with local police, fire, emergency responders and private mall security as part of a national initiative to prepare first responders for a "complex mall attack."

Members of the public are asked to stay away from the shopping center for the duration of the exercise.

According to the FBI, the number of incidents at enclosed public venues--including schools, businesses and entertainment venues-- have more than doubled since 2008. This includes the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack which left 20 children and six adults dead, and a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in which 12 people were killed.

Contact Karina Ioffee at kioffee@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kioffee.