Maritime Security and Pollution Response Exercise Scheduled for Narragansett Bay

PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England in partnership with over 30 federal, State, and local agencies, as well as approximately a dozen private companies and non-government organizations, is sponsoring an emergency response exercise on and around Narragansett Bay, R.I., May 3 through May 5, 2010.

The exercise will test the ability of local responders and specialized teams to manage several simultaneous incidents of national significance and subsequent hazardous materials release, while coordinating with all levels of government.

The exercise, designed to fulfill the annual requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, is the result of a joint planning effort between members of the Southeastern New England Area Maritime Security Committee and the emergency Area (Oil and Hazardous Materials) Planning Committee. In order to evaluate the Area Maritime Security Plan and the Area Contingency Plan, emergency response managers will deploy response boats, aircraft and numerous land based specialized teams to various sites in Rhode Island over the course of the drill.

“Any event of national significance will demand timely interagency coordination at all levels of government,” said Capt. Ray Perry, commander Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. “How more than 30 response organizations coordinate the protection of our public, and natural and manmade resources has been the planning focus of Rhode Island and local federal responders for over a year. The results of that work will be tested on the day of the exercise, and like what we have done in the past, areas needing further improvement will then be where we focus our future work as we continue in our never ending cycle of preparedness”.

When the exercise begins on May 5, the public may see response boats, aircraft and other specialized emergency response teams operating in and around Narragansett Bay between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

As part of the exercise at approximately 1 p.m., on May 5 the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will conduct a series of siren tests in the Port of Providence. The siren will be activated using the tone and live voice message directing those in listening range to Shelter-in-Place.

As the Coast Guard exercise progresses the siren will sound for a second time directing those in listening range to conduct an evacuation of the port in accordance with established plans. Residents are asked to continue with their normal routine during the exercise, siren activations and mock port evacuation; no action is necessary. Additionally, those homes and residents within the range of sirens will receive a Reverse 911 message directing an evacuation; again no action is necessary. There will be no Reverse 911 message for the first shelter-in-place siren activation. If you have questions about the exercise, siren activation or port evacuations please contact Providence Emergency Management Agency at 680-8000.

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