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    Utah prepares for an earthquake

    Vigilant Guard Utah 2014

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ruth Harvie | Three first responders get ready to examine a simulated train derailment at the Utah...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Ruth Harvie 

    358th Public Affairs Detachment

    SALT LAKE CITY - Imagine a 6.0 magnitude earthquake hits Salt Lake City. Buildings are crumbled, people are trapped, trains derailed, the power goes out. The governor issues a state of emergency.

    Is the Utah National Guard and its counterparts ready?

    Vigilant Guard Utah 2014 is preparing and training Soldiers, airmen, firefighters, and police officers to respond to such a disaster. Vigilant Guard Utah 2014 is a four day, multiagency earthquake response exercise hosted by the Utah National Guard and sponsored by United States Northern Command. During Vigilant Guard Utah 2014, various emergency response scenarios took place across Utah from Nephi to Ogden Nov. 3-6, 2014.

    Participants included federal, state, and non-governmental organizations such as Primary Children's Hospital, University of Utah Hospital, FEMA, and Provo City Police and Fire Departments. Exercises included simulated gas leaks, fires, rubble piles and collapsed bridges.

    "We're doing this training to keep the public safe in future situations," said Sgt. 1st Class Matilde Ott, Alpha 142nd Military Intelligence. "We're getting ready and training to respond in case of a real emergency and we're going to be there to assist."

    One scenario was held at Quester in Salt Lake City Nov. 3, 2014. More than 50 military personnel participated in the event and responded to a simulated civil disturbance. Military role players played the part of college students living in University of Utah housing. Soldiers from the 141st Military Intelligence and Airmen from the 151st Civil Engineering/Explosive Ordnance Disposal worked closely together to take control of evacuating the college student role players out of their housing and dealing with nearby simulated fires and gas leaks.

    One of the Soldiers participating in the event said he enjoyed working in the exercise.

    "We're training up so that if ever the state needs help with response to a riot or anything like that we can respond and help out in any capacity we can," said Sgt. Benjamin Hardy with the Delta Company 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion. "We always train hard so that we can perform well when the time comes when we're called upon."

    When asked how the Soldiers and Airmen did, Ott said, "they did an excellent job."

    In another training scenario, Soldiers with the Colorado Army National Guard Search and Extraction Element prepared and trained to extract simulated casualties from a rubble pile in Magna, Utah. Soldiers found several simulated casualties buried in the rubble and worked together to pull each casualty out safely. More than thirty Soldiers participated in the event.

    "Our main mission today is getting those casualties out of the collapsed structure," said Capt. John O'Connell, commander of the Search and Extraction Element Colorado Army National Guard.

    "Our Soldiers have done very well and have trained very hard up to this point for a mission like this," said O'Connell. "This training event really involves a lot of attention to detail and preparation."

    The exercise was made as realistic as possible so that if the National Guard is called out to assist the community in a real situation, they would be prepared to do so. O'Connell said the event is valuable because it actively employs soldiers with first responders and outside agencies who the National Guard would be working with in a real scenario.

    Every exercise worked into play tested Soldiers' readiness, validated plans, and gave valuable experience to first responders.

    "The bottom line for the military is training," said Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, adjutant general, Utah National Guard.

    "We train for these catastrophic events beforehand," he said. "If you don't train, you won't be ready."

    Overall, 1,700 guardsmen, 1,000 state employees, and 300 out-of-state employees were part of the event.



    Date Taken: 11.06.2014
    Date Posted: 11.06.2014 16:51
    Story ID: 147248
    Location: SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US 

    Web Views: 246
    Downloads: 0