Since that terrible day on September 11, 2001, our region has developed and refined terrorism response plans, conducted training, and purchased equipment to better prepare us in the event of attack. As part of our continuing effort to be as prepared as possible for area-wide disasters, the County last month worked with other first responders, including local military, hospitals and other agencies in a statewide exercise that simulated a terrorist attack.
The full-scale exercise simulated terrorist attacks originating in various ports throughout California, including a mock dirty bomb explosion to test emergency procedures, implement mutual aid agreements and protect the public.
In the local event, the first simulated emergency began at Cal State San Marcos when a shooter supposedly wounded students in a dormitory. While officers investigated the staged attack, the simulated bomb exploded at the track and soccer field about an hour later, sending up a giant orange fireball.
About 60 people volunteered to be victims and simulated various injury conditions. As part of the disaster exercise, hazardous material teams, law enforcement, fire services, and the region’s Metropolitan Medical Strike Team assisted with decontamination of a radiological incident and medical treatment of mock patients in the field. Area hospitals and clinics were also involved to test their ability to respond to a mass casualty involving trauma, burn and radiation exposure and detection.
County agencies including the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Environmental Health, Health and Human Services, and the Office of Emergency Services participated in the exercise. The exercise also included participation from all 18 cities, six state agencies, six federal agencies, 27 hospitals and clinics, and several non-government and private sector organizations such as the American Red Cross, San Diego Gas & Electric, California State University San Marcos and 2-1-1.
The exercise, known as Golden Guardian 2010 advances our ability to be on the cutting edge of emergency preparedness. We also tested our emergency radio network, a system that was dramatically improved following problems in the 2003 wildfires.
In this edition of the “Word,” I will share more information on a way you can receive instant notification of sexual offenders living in your neighborhood. Also, you can read about honoring the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans with an Avenue of Flags at the new Veterans Cemetery Garden of Heroes at MCAS Miramar. Those and many other stories follow as we work to keep you updated on what is happening within our district. Thank you for the honor of serving as your County Supervisor.