LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — California and Nevada National Guard personnel will host Vigilant Guard 2016 in November, bringing together more than 1,200 members of local, state and federal agencies for an earthquake-response exercise at several locations in both states.
Media are invited to observe the exercise Nov. 17, when a multi-site tour via UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter will be available to a limited number of journalists. Media interested in the flight opportunity should contact Brandon Honig, California Military Department public affairs manager, at 805-458-3825 or firstname.lastname@example.org, as soon as possible, no later than Nov. 3.
Vigilant Guard will simulate a devastating earthquake Nov. 12 in the Las Vegas area, requiring the California National Guard to deploy at least 100 troops to assist in Nevada. Only two days later, a larger notional quake will strike along the San Andreas fault line with an epicenter near the Salton Sea. The disasters will set hundreds of fires, create hazardous-material concerns and displace millions of people.
"Living in California, we know large earthquakes are in our future. A catastrophic event such as this will push every responding agency to its limit, and we will need to work together to maximize our effectiveness," said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, California’s Adjutant General. "Vigilant Guard simulates the chaos of a post-disaster atmosphere, enabling us to learn from our mistakes and improve our interagency processes for handling real-world emergencies."
The exercise, Nov. 12-18, will include Army and Air National Guard personnel from seven states as well as Army Reserve and active component Army soldiers united under the dual-status command of a California National Guard officer. Participating non-military agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force 4 out of Oakland, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Irvine Police Department, fire departments from Henderson, Los Angeles, L.A. County, Orange County, Sherman Oaks and Ventura County, and as at least 100 volunteer Community Emergency Response Team members from Orange County.
The Nov. 17 training day will include the establishment of a point-of-distribution site at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine to provide food and water to role-playing citizens affected by the quake as well as USAR operations at the Del Valle Regional Training Center in Castaic. Other exercise components will test communications, aviation, search and rescue, medical, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN, response capabilities. Exercise sites in California will include Camarillo, Camp Roberts, Castaic, Irvine, Los Alamitos, Port Hueneme, Sacramento, Sherman Oaks and Ventura.
Media interested in covering Vigilant Guard should contact Brandon Honig, Cal Guard public affairs manager, at 805-458-3825 or email@example.com, or Kim Mohr, City of Irvine press information officer, at 949-724-7112 to ensure access to exercise sites. Journalists interested in flying on Nov. 17 must make contact no later than Nov. 3.