July 19, 2005
City of Ketchikan Public Safety Director Rich Leipfert said that Ketchikan is one of 13 communities in the state that will test its abilities to respond to a terrorist incident during the month of August. He anticipates locally, approximately 400 people representing more than 40 local, state and federal organizations will participate in this large-scale training exercise.
"Documenting the strengths and weaknesses of our disaster plan helps us map the course of improving collective readiness," said Leipfert. "This event is nationally significant since President George W. Bush will be reviewing the results of these exercises to evaluate what additional resources Alaska and other states may require."
Leipfert said that the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has provided more than $100,000 to fund the August event and more than $70,000 in other funding to prepare local response personnel.
Scenarios will not only evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these agencies' emergency and law enforcement personnel, but the readiness of area government officials to respond to a terrorist act or threat. In addition to the Aug. 15, all-day tabletop exercise, there will be a hazardous materials drill at Ketchikan Charter School on Aug. 16 involving an entry team, sample collection, evidence collection, and decontamination of response personnel. Finally, on August 18, a full-scale mock catastrophe at a "still undisclosed location" will challenge participants' resources and skills to help guarantee our community will be prepared for large-scale events, no matter what the cause.
Watch for more information about this event in the coming weeks.
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