Coast Guard to conduct mass rescue operation exercise along the Columbia River

THE DALLES, Ore. – Federal, state, tribal and local agencies will be gathered at River Front Park and the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles to conduct a mass rescue operation exercise, Wednesday.

The exercise will help first responder agencies to evaluate search and rescue procedures and coordination; interagency Incident Command System response; evaluate triage accountability processes and evaluate joint communications procedures and capabilities.

The scenario to be practiced involves a large passenger vessel that runs hard aground near the Three Mile Rapids, which causes mass injuries and forces passengers into the Columbia River without lifejackets.

Agencies involved include:

Federal – Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

State – Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Emergency Management

Local – Wasco County Emergency Operation Center, Wasco Emergency Management, Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Amateur Radio Service and Wasco County Search and Rescue; Hood River County Emergency Management, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office; Klickitat County Emergency Management; Portland Fire and Portland Emergency Operations Center; Hood River Fire; The River Safety Task Force; The Dalles Police Department; Mid-Columbia Medical Center; Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue; Clark County Fire and Rescue; Clark County Sheriff’s Office

Tribal – Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries

Commercial – Life Flight

“The public should be aware of but not alarmed at the activities occurring Wednesday,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kristen Caldwell, contingency planning and readiness chief and exercise coordinator. “We will be doing our very best to not disrupt normal everyday activity in the area including public fishing during Pike Minnow season. This exercise is extremely important in order to be ready for something we all hope never happens.”

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