Thursday, September 22, 2011

Massive terror exercise planned for metro area

Operation Mountain Guardian is a terrorism-based, full-scale emergency exercise scheduled to take place in numerous locations in the Denver metro area on Friday, September 23, 2011.

The exercise will involve first responders from 81 different agencies, will be conducted at ten separate locations and will include loud noises, simulated weapons, smoke, emergency vehicles and other equipment that will be audible and visible throughout the day.

The purpose of this advisory is to provide information that can be disseminated to the public ahead of time to avoid confusion or concern on exercise day, as well as to invite media coverage of the event.

Operation Mountain Guardian will be held at the following locations throughout the Denver Metropolitan area:

Primary Locations

Park Meadows Mall
Smedley Elementary School
Denver Union Station
Community College of Aurora (Lowry Campus)

Secondary Locations

Denver International Airport
Sky Ridge Medical Center
Denver Health Medical Center
University of Colorado Hospital
Catholic Charities (NW Denver)
Sports Authority Field at Mile High

A Public Information Officer will be available at each primary location to coordinate safe access for media representatives and provide information. A Denver Joint Information Center PIO will also be available at 720-865-7695.

The exercise has been designed as a learning event for regional first responders to test their capabilities in a scenario that will involve a terrorist-driven catastrophic situation. Exercise play will occur at the four primary sites and DIA. Catholic Charities and Sports Authority Field at Mile High will participate in an administrative fashion to test student/teacher processing activities. Sky Ridge Medical Center, Denver Health Medical Center, and University of Colorado Hospital will participate for the purpose of testing medical surge capabilities and communicating within Incident Command.

The exercise is scheduled to begin at 0500 hours and end by 1630 hours.

NEWS ADVISORY: Operation Mountain Guardian (continued)


Operation Mountain Guardian is a terrorism-based full-scale exercise sponsored by the North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region, Denver Urban Area Security Initiative, and Front Range Metropolitan Medical Response System. The exercise is a Homeland Security Grant funded event made possible due to grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through FEMA Region VIII and the State of Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.

The North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region is one of nine emergency preparedness and response Regions within the State of Colorado. The North Central Region (NCR) is organized around ten counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin and Jefferson.

One purpose of the NCR is to improve Region-wide emergency preparedness, response and homeland security capabilities through coordinated planning, training and exercise efforts. This exercise is evidence of the growing public safety partnership between regional emergency response agencies.

Operation Mountain Guardian is part of a Regional Training and Exercise Plan established in 2009. Planning for Operation Mountain Guardian began in January 2010 and has included several building-block events designed to prepare responders to effectively participate in the full-scale exercise.

The overall Operation Mountain Guardian exercise objectives are:

1. Communications: Assess the ability to establish and maintain multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional communications in response to a terrorism incident.

2. Hazmat Response and Decontamination: Evaluate the capability to coordinate multiple hazmat response teams and assess their ability to perform initial response actions.

3. Public Safety & Security Response: Evaluate the ability to establish scene security and crime scene preservation, coordinate a multi-jurisdictional response, and manage intelligence information in order to mitigate the effects of the event.

4. Explosive Device Response Operations: Evaluate the capability to manage and coordinate explosive device response operations using regional bomb squad teams.

5. Onsite Incident Management: Evaluate the ability to implement the Incident Command System (ICS) and establish multi-jurisdictional command and control.

6. Triage and Pre-Hospital Treatment: Examine the ability of EMS to provide effective pre-hospital emergency medical care in response to a terrorism incident.

7. Medical Surge: Evaluate medical surge capability at area hospitals.

While Operation Mountain Guardian is primarily a Homeland Security Grant funded exercise, the event will also rely heavily on local government emergency response agencies, military organizations, volunteer organizations as well as local charitable organizations.

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