California-Nevada Vigilant Guard Exercise Tests Earthquake Response

The high likelihood of a major earthquake occurring in California is no secret. With the San Andreas fault more than 150 years overdue, being ready to respond to an earthquake is a capability that must be practiced and tested to ensure our state is well-prepared for a catastrophic event.

This week the California National Guard and Nevada National Guard hosted the Vigilant Guard 2016 exercise. Vigilant Guard is a large scale earthquake response exercise with activities taking place in multiple locations in both states supported by more than 1,200 members from local, state and federal agencies.

The scenario for this exercise is set with an earthquake taking place in Las Vegas requiring the California National Guard to send resources to assist. Two days later, a major earthquake then strikes in California along the San Andreas Fault causing fires, hazardous-material concerns while displacing millions and causing thousands of injuries and deaths. The exercise focuses on military support to civilian entities and coordination among agencies during disaster response.

Cal OES Fire and Rescue Branch participated in Vigilant Guard with Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force Team mobilization coordination exercises. US&R involves the location, rescue, and initial medical stabilization of trapped victims and would be a critical assets after a disastrous earthquake. A FEMA US&R Task Force is comprised of firefighters, engineers, medical professionals, canine/handler teams and emergency managers with highly specialized training in urban search and rescue environments, and serve as a resource for disaster response at local, state, federal, and international levels. There are 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Teams in the nation and eight are in California.

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While California has some of the most highly trained individuals in the world who plan and train regularly to respond to an earthquake, we must not overlook our individual responsibility to prepare for an emergency. Learn steps you can take today to prepare. Click HERE.


Monica Vargas

Monica is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). She has been involved in the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Valley Fire, Butte Fire, historic drought, Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident and 2017 winter storms. She previously served Cal OES as an analyst in international affairs, technology operations and executive staff support.

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