Statewide ‘Vigilant Guard’ drills to test emergency responders throughout Maine

Posted Nov. 01, 2013, at 12:29 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 04, 2013, at 4:57 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Maine Army National Guard, working with emergency responders from the state, county and local levels, as well as international groups, will hold emergency drills throughout Maine this week.

As part of the “Vigilant Guard” exercise, emergency crews will respond to simulated disasters including an ice storm, chemical and hazardous materials threats, bomb and other possible terrorist threats, collapsed structures and cybersecurity breaches, according to a release from the National Guard.

As part of the drill, public health officials and the American Red Cross will test their emergency plans.

Organizers warn the public to expect an increased number of emergency and military vehicles and personnel in areas where exercises are scheduled to take place, although emergency vehicles will not use lights or sirens.

On Tuesday, crews will respond to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station for a mock collapsed structure and to the State House complex in Augusta for a simulated “intruder/potential explosive” drill.

On Thursday, multiple agencies will respond to a mock maritime disaster in Portland, and on Friday, Portland will hold a public health drill on pharmaceutical distribution.

More than 20 other drills are planned statewide. One will occur at the University of Maine in Orono, where local fire crews will work with the Maine National Guard to respond to a mock chemical and hazardous materials threat.

“This exercise not only tests our specific training and equipment, but also our ability to solve unexpected problems in an emergency situation,” Rob McAleer, director of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said in the release.

Exercises are also planned in Alfred, Auburn, Belfast, Calais, Caribou, Cushing, Ellsworth, Farmington, Friendship, Jackman, Rockland, South Paris, Tenants Harbor, Union, Warren and Washington.

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