By Garrett Christensen on Thursday, May 25th, 2023 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News
LA GRANDE – (Release from Union County Emergency Management) On Tuesday, local fire management agencies, public utilities, and emergency response agencies came together at the Oregon National Guard Armory in La Grande for an all-day wildfire response simulation. The event simulated a complex and rapidly moving wildfire in Union County requiring communication among the participants as well as a coordinated response to, and management of, the incident.
The 58 participating personnel represented a broad range of response and services, ranging from volunteers for the American Red Cross to North Powder Rural Fire District personnel, U.S. Forest Service district rangers, several fire agency representatives, local law enforcement and 911 dispatch center staff among many others. By working together in exercises and emergency simulations such as this simulation, partnerships are strengthened which aids in successfully and efficiently achieving common goals while also testing capabilities. Many of the personnel from the wide range of participating organizations would have few opportunities to work together outside of real incidents if simulations such as this event was not made available.
The table-top exercise included scripted inputs to the participants throughout the day that required coordinated and time-sensitive critical decisions regarding fire response, resource management, evacuations, sheltering, mass-notification, traffic management, and public information. Added complexities included impacts to highways, utilities, and hazardous air quality.
The 25 agencies and organizations participating in the exercise (listed alphabetically) included: