Thursday, September 03, 2015

Illinois National Guard, IEMA conduct major earthquake exercise

by Lt. Col. Laura Forgerty
183d Air Operations Group

9/2/2015 - SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  -- Members from the Illinois Army and Air National Guard recently hosted an earthquake response exercise at the 183rd Fighter Wing and the Joint Forces Headquarters with the coordination of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

The joint exercise provided incident management and emergency management teams, agency technical experts and military personnel from U.S. Northern Command, the Polish Armed Forces and other state agencies to support the military's training scenario.

"We gained a tremendous amount of insight by having IEMA, other civilian agencies, National Guard Bureau, U.S. NORTHCOM and Poland participating in this event," said Col. Rick G. Yoder, commander of the joint task force. "It's critical to strengthen partnerships with local, state and federal personnel before a disaster happens."

The exercise simulated a 7.2 magnitude earthquake centered on the New Madrid Seismic Zone. More than 200 Army and Air National Guard members and over 100 civilian emergency management personnel participated in the scenario.

The National Guard has a standing mission to provide support to civil authorities during natural disasters. The joint task force provides command and control of military personnel and equipment in support of civil authorities during a complex catastrophe like an earthquake.

"We want to be able to respond rapidly and efficiently, and training together supports that goal," said Yoder. "We train the force to anticipate need. It's ultimately about saving lives and property."

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