Southeast Alaska Mass Rescue Exercise 2009

JUNEAU, Alaska – The City of Ketchikan Alaska, Holland America Line, Customs and Border Protection, and Coast Guard Sector Juneau have initiated planning efforts to jointly sponsor a mass rescue exercise simulating the joint response to the evacuation of a cruise ship in Southeast Alaska.

The two phase exercise will be held in Ketchikan, Alaska on April 27 and 28, 2009. A unique aspect of this exercise is that participants will not assemble in a single exercise location, but will direct response actions and communicate from their “real life” locations in Seattle, Juneau, and Ketchikan. Although an actual cruise ship will not be utilized, the role of the ship will be simulated using data and plans from one of Holland America Line’s ships. Experienced cruise ship staff will play the role of the ship’s officers in order to provide realistic shipboard actions and requests.

Phase one will focus on the extensive search and rescue planning and information sharing required to evacuate and transport 2,500 people safely ashore, while phase two will be a field exercise to evaluate joint plans for the shore side accountability and support of all persons evacuated including those victims with special needs. During phase two, approximately 300 local volunteers, combined with 2,200 name tags, will be used to simulate the evacuated passengers and crew.

In addition to the exercise sponsors, expected participants include State of Alaska agencies Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Public Health Preparedness, Cruise Line Agency of Alaska, Canadian Coast Guard, Princess Cruises, Alaska Marine Highway System, the Greater Ketchikan Area Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), local maritime industries, and small passenger vessels. Exercise objectives and additional information, including how to volunteer to participate in the exercise, can be viewed at www.massrescue.us or email rick.n.janelle@uscg.mil.

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