September 1, 2011 |

Regional emergency training exercise Sept. 10 in King and Snohomish counties

OLYMPIA – Puget Sound area emergency responders will test their skills and equipment in a disaster training drill on Sept. 10.

In the drill, participants will respond to landslides, flooding and road washouts caused by heavy storms that bring close to 20 inches of rain. The exercise is the first time all regional emergency response aircraft will participate in a coordinated training exercise and will demonstrate the Seattle Urban Areas Security Initiative’s (UASI) ability to work together. The UASI program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas.

When: The training exercises will start at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10.

Where: Exercise managers working from an incident command post at the Arlington Airport will coordinate activities at five locations – Silvana/Stanwood area, Robe Valley/Pilchuck River area, Gold Bar/Skykomish River area, Sultan/Skykomish River area and Discovery Park in Seattle.

Visuals: Rescue workers will be available for media interviews at:

· The command post at the Arlington Airport – interview aviation rescue experts before or after heading out to one of the exercise scenarios.

· Robe Valley/Pilchuck River, near the Blue Bridge along the Mountain Loop Highway –watch up close as rescuers on the ground work with aircraft to hoist two “victims” trapped in the flood.

· Silvana/Stillaguamish River, behind Viking Hall at 1331 Pioneer Highway in Silvana – this scene might prove a little more challenging to shoot video or photographs.

· Discovery Park, Seattle - see emergency workers rescuing people caught in a landslide. In the Seattle scenario, a Washington State Patrol (WSP) Cessna will circle the park and use its onboard thermal imaging camera to locate an injured patient. The Seattle Fire Department’s Helicopter High Rise Rescue Team will board a King County Sheriff’s helicopter and lower a rescue hoist to pick up the patient off a hillside near the lighthouse. The WSP aircraft will provide a video downlink of the rescue operations to the command post.

· The two rescue scenarios in remote areas of east Snohomish County are difficult to access and won’t have rescuers available for media interviews.

Participating aviation agencies include: the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, King County Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Transportation, U.S. Navy, Snohomish County Fire Districts 5, 19, 22 and 26, Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management, Arlington Airport, SNOPAC, Seattle Emergency Operations Center, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Parks Department, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue, and the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

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