Agencies perform large-scale disaster rescue training in Green River Valley

Rich Collingwood, with King County Search and Rescue, works with air operations ground support during Wednesday
Rich Collingwood, with King County Search and Rescue, works with air operations ground support during Wednesday's regional training. Helicopters from the King County Sheriff's Office, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy participated in the drills.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

Nine rescue scenarios took place simultaneously along the Green River on Wednesday, utilizing aircraft and technical rescue teams in a coordinated effort to safely and efficiently perform search and rescue in a large scale disaster scenario.

Regional police and fire departments along with state and federal public safety agencies took part in the exercise that simulated a major flooding event on the Green River.

The objective of the one-day exercise was to demonstrate the ability for the Seattle Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Regional Aviation partner organizations to be interoperable with state and local agencies by communicating and operating collectively during emergency operations.

“Bringing agencies from several disciplines is critical for our ability to work together. A large-scale, real-life disaster would require the efforts of multiple agencies, which makes this exercise critical for our preparedness,” said Tom Peterson, Aviation Emergency Services coordinator with the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Nine locations along the Green River from Kent to Flaming Geyser State Park were designated for rescue scenarios. Aircraft and rescue teams staged at the Pea Patch in Kent and the Auburn Air Academy before being deployed to the scenarios.

“This exercise is beneficial to the smaller local jurisdictions and we appreciate the willingness of all the regional agencies participating today. Practicing this type of scenario makes us more capable and prepared in the event of a real disaster,” said Valley Regional Fire Authority Battalion Chief Parry Boogard.

Participating agencies included: the Washington State Department of Transportation; King County Sheriff’s Office; Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Navy; Washington State Patrol; Pierce County Department of Emergency Management; Valley Regional Fire Authority; Seattle Fire; Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority; Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety; SeaTac Fire Department; Tukwila Fire Department; King County Fire District No. 44; Central Pierce Fire & Rescue; King County Medic One; King County Office of Emergency Management; and Valley Communications Center.

King County Search and Rescue and Snohomish County Search and Rescue provided air operations ground support.




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