Knox County municipalities to participate in major winter storm exercise
Personnel from the Knox County Emergency Management Agency and volunteers will open the county-level Emergency Operations Center Wednesday, Nov. 6, from noon to 8 p.m. in conjunction with the statewide exercise, Vigilant Guard 2014.
The exercise revolves around an imagined scenario where Maine is stricken by a major winter storm involving ice and heavy wet snowfall followed by an extended period of sub-zero temperatures.
Locally, Knox EMA will work with Cushing, Friendship, Union, St. George, Warren, and Washington, who will open their respective town Emergency Operations Centers from 4 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Municipal officials and responders will test emergency communications with the county; coordination of local response under simulated utility outages; and discuss storm-related problems presented at the local level. This exercise ties into a local multi-year exercise program and commitment from participating towns that started with individual town-level table top exercises and a five-town exercise conducted between 2010 and 2012.
The overarching statewide exercise is considered a national level exercise jointly sponsored by the Maine National Guard, U.S. Army NORTHCOM, and the Maine Emergency Management Agency at locations throughout Maine from Nov. 5-8. Nearly 3,000 personnel, some from as far away as New Jersey will participate. The exercise gives the Maine National Guard an opportunity to improve cooperation and relationships with regional civilian, military and federal partners supporting civil authorities responding to emergencies and catastrophic events.
Exercises such as this allow all participants to train and prepare for emergencies and disasters and to review adequacy of emergency plans designed to assist their citizens in the event of a real disaster.
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Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and news director for Courier Publications. He lives in Rockland with his wife, Christine, who also works for Courier Publications, and two children.
Dunkle has previously served as editor of The Republican Journal in Belfast. He has worked as a reporter and photographer in the Midcoast for 15 years.