Multiple agencies to participate in maritime mass rescue exercise in Elizabeth River

Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads SealPORTSMOUTH, Va — Personnel from the Coast Guard, Navy, state of Virginia, and local emergency response organizations are scheduled to conduct mass rescue exercise in the Elizabeth River Tuesday.

The purpose of the exercise is to improve coordination, communication, and response techniques among the participating agencies during a mass rescue event by simulating an evacuation of 90 passengers aboard the Spirit of Norfolk and rescue of persons in the water. Search and rescue mannequins will be placed in the water for the simulation.

The exercise, which is scheduled to begin at 8 am and end at 12 p.m., will occur in the vicinity of Lamberts Point, Elizabeth River with landing sites & triage staging area at Town Point Park, Norfolk and Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads-Portsmouth Annex at Hospital Point.

The following organizations are scheduled to participate in the exercise:

  • Coast Guard
  • Navy
  • Camp Peary Fire Department
  • Port of Virginia
  • Virginia Marine Police
  • Chesterfield EMS
  • Henrico Division of Fire
  • James County Police Department
  • Norfolk and Portsmouth Divisions of Emergency Communication
  • Police and Fire departments from Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and York County.

“Exercises like this are vital to validate our mass rescue plan, doctrine, procedures and the ability to conduct these types of operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Renee McKinnon, chief of contingency planning at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “Additionally, it helps build, clarify and strengthen relationships with our partners and stakeholders prior to an actual incident.”

Local residents should not be alarmed by the increased presence of law enforcement, fire, and first responder agencies the day of the exercise. Please be advised, Virginia Beach Fire will be using a small drone during the exercise.

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