One of the nation’s largest and most revered fire departments is coming to Perry for a mass disaster-training exercise.
The New York City Fire Department’s All Hazard Incident Management Team will be at the Guardian Centers from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, according to a news release.
Recent seismic studies indicate New York has an increased risk of a major earthquake, and the exercise will be geared toward responding to such an event.
The multi-agency exercise will include about 400 first responders from across the country, said Jeff Battcher, spokesman for the Guardian Centers. About 300 of the participants will be from New York.
The Guardian Centers is a privately held 830-acre disaster training facility that includes a mock city and a subway.
National Guard troops from across the Southeast and a specialized U.S. Marine unit are expected to attend, as well as other state and federal agencies.
Utah, New Mexico, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Indiana also are sending disaster response personnel.
“This is a very large, multi-jurisdictional event,” Battcher said. “The purpose of this is really to see how do civilian agencies work with the federal and state level, which has always been the goal of the Guardian Centers.”
With observers and others expected to attend the training, Battcher expects the exercise will bring a total of about 600 people to Perry.
Guardian Centers has had one other exercise with about that many people, he said, but this one will have the most different agencies participating.
“It’s extremely beneficial to have access to a state-of-the-art facility like Guardian Centers to test and validate our response to a disaster before lives are on the line,” Joe Downey, New York battalion chief, said in the release. “To be able to bring together responders from the local, state and federal levels in one place to work together and coordinate our efforts will undoubtedly hone our abilities to respond quickly when called upon.”
The agencies will be using computer tablets specially made for disaster response.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.