Exercise tests readiness of island first responders - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Exercise tests readiness of island first responders

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - This time next week several of our first responders will be fully engaged in a massive exercise to test their skills. Kontra I Piligru is a verse in the Guam Hymn meaning "Against All Perils" and for organizers it's a fitting name for the upcoming full scale exercise which will test first responders.

According to Ray Toves the director of training and readiness USARPAC WMD-CST it has taken six months to plan the 13 evolutions or scenarios that will be played out throughout the island within a 36 hour period. "To pretty much test the capabilities what we designed will actually exceed Guam's capabilities exceed the CST's capabilities and the reason why we do that is because that is the only way we can identify gaps in our response plans," he said.

Over 40 GovGuam agencies will be partnering with the National Guard to participate in a full-scale exercise next week Tuesday and Wednesday as a result the public may see an increase in aircraft and emergency vehicles if you hear a loud explosive noise do not be alarmed as this is part of the exercise and do not contact 911 instead tune into our social media websites via KUAM.com or Facebook or our Instagram page.

While the exact scenarios must remain a secret to ensure first responders are alerted when they least expect it, Toves says that one aspect will be responding to active shooters. "Here on Guam the latest and greatest right now through the United States and territories active shooter seem to never go away so we are going to have an abundance of that throughout the island and not only at the schools but unidentified critical structures throughout the island," Toves said.

Toves says that this exercise will be taxing for both the Guam Fire Department and the Guam Police Department as every scenario will require their presence. As part of the exercise the National Guard's 94th CST will also be evaluated by 103 Alaskan CST team. "In 2013 when we did the exercise we started slow and we gradually moved to a tough ending event this year it's the opposite we are going 0 to 60 right from at get go and it is going to scramble agencies throughout the island meanwhile other evolutions are going to be occurring that going to test the command and control structure of the Government of Guam," he explained.

This will determine where resources are more required. According to homeland security advisor Ambrosio Constantino this exercise is key to our island's emergency response capabilities as in previous years it has identified the gaps not only in the response but also in the training itself. 
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