Coast Guard tests communication, preps for Cascadia Rising event

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Wood, a member of the Coast Guard 13th District response technology division, uses a mobile high frequency radio to communicate with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Law Enforcement Communications Service Center in Orlando, Fla., during a communications exercise at Coast Guard Base Seattle, March 22, 2016. The exercise simulated a communications blackout cased by a natural disaster. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener)

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Wood, a member of the Coast Guard 13th District response technology division, uses a mobile high frequency radio to communicate with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Law Enforcement Communications Service Center in Orlando, Fla., during a communications exercise at Coast Guard Base Seattle, March 22, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener)

SEATTLE — Coast Guard personnel with the 13th District command, control, communications, and computer branch tested an array of emergency communications equipment during an exercise simulating a natural disaster and complete communications blackout in Seattle, Tuesday.

Different communication methods included satellite phones and mobile high-frequency and very-high frequency radios.

Coast Guard telecommunication experts were able to establish communications with various Coast Guard units in Puget Sound; Astoria and North Bend, Oregon; Novato, California; Coast Guard Auxiliary facilities and FEMA Region X in Bothell.  They were also successful in establishing clear communications with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection National Law Enforcement Communications Service Center in Orlando, Florida, a national communications center used by various law enforcement agencies.

“Today’s drill affirmed the Coast Guard can effectively communicate within our own organization as well as with critical partners during a post disaster event that is predicted to damage the communications infrastructure along the entire West Coast,” said Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Harrison, C4IT branch chief.

The Coast Guard will be participating in the Cascadia Rising Functional Exercise June 7-10 to test its continuity of operations and ability to support humanitarian response efforts, maritime transportation system assessment and response, homeland defense and security, environmental response, agency support and incident management in conjunction with interagency partners from all levels of government.

“Preparedness is the foundation for successful incident management,” said Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander, Coast Guard 13th District.  “This includes developing plans, training personnel, conducting exercises, and learning from past experiences.  Our mix of cutters, aircraft, boats, communication systems and most importantly, our people form an adaptive workforce that can be tailored to respond to almost any incident in the maritime domain.”

Personnel from Coast Guard Pacific Area, Coast Guard 11th District, Coast Guard 13th District, Coast Guard 14th District and Coast Guard 17th District will be participating.

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