The 2011 Arizona Statewide Vigilant Guard exercise is being called the largest emergency response exercise to simulated catastrophic events in Arizona’s history and La Paz County is participating. On Friday November 4th, emergency response agencies around the county will test their ability to respond to a nuclear detonation in the metro area of Maricopa County and the influx of evacuees to the La Paz County area.
Approximately 250 agencies and 8,000 participants (e.g., planners, players, controllers, evaluators, etc.) are involved in 2011 Statewide Vigilant Guard, an operations-based exercise designed to enhance the disaster preparedness of Arizona’s emergency management agencies, local authorities, National Guard forces (from Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Minnesota), and U.S. Northern Command. The exercise will run Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 3 to 6, 2011 and involve simulated on-scene responses in several locations throughout Maricopa County.
Participants in La Paz County include: La Paz County Health Department, La Paz County Emergency Management, La Paz County Public Works, La Paz Regional Hospital, and Parker Indian Health Services.
“The majority of the exercise play will be at our two hospitals as they set up decontamination tents and have simulated patients,” said Katie Turnbow, Public Information Officer for the Health Department. “The La Paz County Health Department will be setting up a Health Emergency Operations Center to support additional volunteer request, medical supply requests and communications support.”
The exercise will consist of two phases—a simulated flood and a simulated Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) detonated in the Phoenix Metro Area. The scenario will test plans for simulated mass evacuation, mass fatality, medical response, receiving, staging and deliver of federal resources, continuity of operation/direction of control of state government and public information.
The consequences of an IND would be extensive. The impact on local, state and tribal governments and critical infrastructure would be considerable. The simulated evacuation of citizens of impacted areas along with medical triage will be a component of the overall response plan.