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Town readies for Operation Shake ‘n Bake

Staff Reports

Warning: don’t be alarmed when a 6.8 earthquake strikes the Sierra Tuesday – with the epicenter in Tahoe Donner.

The victims and evacuees you will see are only actors, the disaster that will spread throughout the community is only simulated. This is a drill, this is only a drill.

On Tuesday, Oct. 19, the Town of Truckee and local agencies and emergency personnel will conduct and participate in a large-scale emergency disaster exercise in Truckee, named Operation: Shake and Bake. The exercise is a real-time full scale exercise which helps various agencies evaluate their roles in the mitigation of an emergency in the community, according to the Emergency Preparedness Drill Committee.

After the exercise is activated, the Incident Command Center, functioning under the joint command of Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Truckee Fire and Protection District and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, will request that the Town of Truckee Emergency Operational Center be activated. Once activated, the agencies will use the Town of Truckee Emergency Action Plan.

Truckee residents should be prepared to see emergency personnel throughout the area using emergency rescue techniques on volunteer victims, according to Tamara Blanton with the Town of Truckee and one of the design coordinators for the exercise. Personnel will respond to a variety of simulated disasters including a significant earthquake, fire, structure damage, injuries, environmental problems and the disruption of some vital utilities.

“We can learn to diminish or prevent future emergencies by what we learn from past events, whether through actual emergencies or simulation of response activities,” said Blanton.

Various agencies will be involved in a variety of ways. Truckee Elementary, Sierra Mountain Middle, Tahoe-Truckee High and Sierra High schools will conduct evacuation drills and Truckee Elementary will actually move their students to the TTHS soccer field. Students will practice loading and unloading buses.

The Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency will simulate a confined space emergency, and the Tahoe Donner Association will participate by evacuating their personnel.

A simulated hazardous waste spill will occur near Hirschdale Road, as well as a simulated wildland fire off of Bernese Lane in Tahoe Donner.

The Tahoe Forest Hospital will experience mass casualties, patient overload and emergency room personnel will be required to handle multiple trauma cases during the exercise.

Rescue personnel will have to help the injured, fight fires, repair pole lines, and clean up hazardous spills. Field personnel will be communicating and reporting back to the EOC, staged at Truckee Fire Station 92.

The scenario goes as follows:

The tourists will have gone home in anticipation of winter and skiing. Children are in school and businesses are hoping for an early snow fall that would change current weather conditions and end an unusually dry season.

A seemingly normal day will take a drastic turn for the worst at 9 a.m. when a 6.8 earthquake strikes the Sierra, with the epicenter believed to be in Tahoe Donner. Significant events will begin to unfold as a result of the disaster. The power lines crossing Northwoods Boulevard will be downed, which initiates a fire west of Northwoods that will in minutes threatened numerous Tahoe Donner homes. Multiple buildings will be damages throughout the town and road damage along Interstate 80 will be widespread.

The weather is warm, dry and windy with humidity levels not expected to rise until evening.

The Incident Command Center will request that the Director of the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services be notified, as personnel are notified that help from the west side of the county well be slow to arrive due to the fact that bridges at Cisco Grove on Interstate 80 have collapsed. Interstate 80 will be unpassable as well as Old Highway 40. As the fire spreads, reports of numerous homes being burned will be received.

At 9:20 a.m., the Town of Truckee EOC will be fully activated.

Throughout the drill, all radio communications will be preceded by the phrase: “This is an exercise message,” to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding.

Participating agencies include: TFPD, Town of Truckee, Glenshire Mutual Water Company, Tahoe Forest Hospital, Truckee Sanitary District, Nevada County Environmental Health, Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Washoe County Emergency Management, Washoe County Public Health, Sierra Pacific Power, Truckee-Tahoe Airport District, Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District, Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency, Northstar Fire, Tahoe Donner Association, Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Forest Service, Glenshire Homeowners Association, Donner Summit Fire Department, CDF, NCSO, American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol and Truckee-Donner Public Utility District.

Exercise organizers are still looking for volunteers from the community to pose as victims and evacuees. Those interested should contact Joseph Ferrerra, director of community relations for the drill, at 582-3529.


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