BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Ensuring safety along our coast takes practice. Today we got to go behind the scenes to watch federal, state and local response teams in action.
The North Carolina National Guard and the US Coast Guard came together with local agencies this week for emergency response drills at the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point in Brunswick County.
“In this crazy world we live in nowadays we have to make sure that we are prepared for the inevitable, if you would,” US Army Col. Joseph Calisto said.
The Point Defender 2011 exercises are preparing agencies in case disaster strikes in the Cape Fear region.
One of the collaborative responses was between the Army and local emergency response agencies to a chemical release and mass casualty scenario.
“It’s very important to have, for us to develop what we call good situational awareness right away, so we can make good informed decisions and then respond to whatever the situation requires,” National Guard Lt. Col. Sonny Simpson said.
The scenarios were not only held on land, they were also on sea. The Coast Guard simulated a maritime security incident by having its vessels respond to a potential threat.
“Security incidents don’t happen in a vacuum,” USCG Lt. Timothy Braun said. “It’s not just the Coast Guard responding. It’s the entire maritime community. it’s important to us to work together with the area maritime security committee to insure proper response to security incidents.”
This series of annual drills not only teaches agencies proper response protocol but also how to cooperate with each other in these emergency situations.
“There is a tremendous amount of preparation that has gone into this exercise, and the training value coming out of this has really made us much more prepared to respond to any type of incident,” Lt. Col. Simpson said.
Agencies on scene believe that because of drills like these both local and state citizens should feel better about emergency response
The training continues the rest of the week, so don’t be surprised if you see various agencies around the area doing drills.