Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Local, State & Federal Levels Have Upcoming Drill Exercise In Area

Mesa County Picked As One Of Five National Drill Locations


Department of Energy Scenario Based Simulated Exercise Involves Local Agencies

Mesa County, CO--- Local hotels, restaurants, rental companies and many more local establishments will benefits from the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County being chosen as one of five locations nationwide to host a full scale 3-day, multi-agency exercise. The exercise is under the leadership of National Emergency Preparedness as part of the Capstone Exercise 2014, with a goal to get greater community participation and planning involvement.

Locally, there will be multiple exercises going on within the drill scheduled for Mesa County, April 1-3, 2014. Examples of scenarios involved in the upcoming national event, include a large scale earthquake event in Alaska, as well as locally the Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters--VOAD (such as the Grand Junction Salvation Army and American Red Cross Western Colorado Chapter), will be setting up a practice shelter at a local church during this same exercise period.

Local agencies and organizations, include the Joint Information System/Center (JIS/JIC), will use this opportunity to test their integration and large scale emergency capabilities alongside our state and federal partners. Local JIS/JIC members are primarily public information personnel from emergency and critical function agencies, such as hospitals, law enforcement, fire, schools, city and county government, utilities, health and human services, transportation and more. They are the faces of their organizations our citizens have come to know and trust. Many of the local JIS/JIC members will be playing active roles in this exercise for all 3-days, to include simulated news conferences, a simulated town hall meeting and simulated citizen inquiries into the already active Western Colorado 211 (community resource InfoLine).

“The value of this exercise will truly shine when we have a FEMA qualified incident in Mesa County,” Andy Martsolf, Mesa County Emergency Manager, said. “This scenario helps us practice continuity for future preparedness.”

The Department of Energy is leasing the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center (CLETC) and Mesa County Fairgrounds for two locations to host local drill participants. The local scenario involves a large crash on Interstate 70, near Horizon Drive. However, I-70 will NOT be impacted in any way during this exercise, as the crash will be simulated at CLETC (located in the Whitewater area). However, it will be business as usual for the organizations and public lands around CLETC during the exercise.

An Emergency Operation Center, managed by our Mesa County Emergency Manager, will be established on day one of this exercise, along with a unified command that will likely include Grand Junction Fire Department EMS/ambulance and hazardous materials response, and Grand Junction Police Department. City and county government will be simulating the dedication of resources to this drill incident and exercising their process with elected officials to budget capabilities, staffing levels, citizen health concerns, public information dissemination and much more.

The Office of Secure Transport (OST) is managed by the National Nuclear Security Administration within the U.S. Department of Energy. According to their website, OST is responsible for the safe and secure transport of government owned nuclear materials in the United States. For the purpose of this drill, the simulated crash on I-70, will involve an OST truck, which involves the practice of security and protection to any of their cargo. In addition to the crash involving the OST truck, many other federal and state agencies will become involved in this exercise based on injects from the writers of the drill scenario, who have a goal to test the various elements and organizations that will be involved.

To view previous incident and drill notifications to media and citizens of Mesa County and Western Colorado, visit and enroll your email address in the JIS/JIC blog, which is anticipated to be heavily utilized during this exercise event. You can find the JIS/JIC blog by visiting: www.mesacountyjic.com.