Town-wide emergency drill planned for Truckee in October
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, it will be business as usual in Truckee.
Tourists will already have gone home in anticipation of winter and skiing.
Children will be in school and businesses will probably be praying for an early snowfall to end an unusually long dry season.
This seemingly normal day in Truckee will take a drastic turn for the worst at 12:35 p.m. when a 6.8 earthquake will strike the Sierra, the epicenter being in Truckee-Tahoe Donner, to be exact. Significant events will result from the disaster: the power lines crossing Northwoods Boulevard going into Tahoe Donner will be downed initiating a fire west of Northwoods that within minutes will threaten numerous residential homes; multiple buildings have been damaged throughout the town and both Interstate 80 and Highway 40 will be unpassable from the west due to collapsed bridges.
The fire will spread, people will be injured.
Truckee residents can relax, however.
This is a drill, this is only a drill.
The Town of Truckee and local agencies will conduct an emergency disaster drill, called Operation Shake and Bake to help increase readiness for future possible disasters or problems. The drill will be a real-time, single phase functional exercise which will help various agencies to evaluate their roles in the mitigation of an emergency in the community, according to the Emergency Preparedness Drill Committee.
Current participating agencies include: Truckee Fire Protection District, 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 Parks 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, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol and Truckee Donner Public Utility District.
This is the first time local agencies have worked together to do a large-scale disaster drill like this in the community, said Tamara Blanton with the Town of Truckee and one of the design coordinators for the exercise.
The other two design coordinators are Gary Botto from TFPD and Kim Thomas from TFH.
“All of the different agencies are required to do some sort of drill,” Blanton said. “Drills are essential, but we do have enough reality that it’s hard to get everyone to participate.”
This particular drill has the scenario of a significant earthquake, fire, structure damage, injuries, environmental problems and the disruption of some vital utilities.
After the earthquake occurs at 12:35 p.m., the Incident Command Center, functioning under the joint command of NCSO, TFPD and CDF, will request that the Town of Truckee Emergency Operational Center be activated.
They will also request that the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services be notified.
By 1:20 p.m. the Town of Truckee Emergency Operational Center will be fully activated and the various agencies will use the Town of Truckee Emergency Action Plan.
Communications to all outside departments, agencies and units will occur between simulators and the EOC.
All radio communications will be preceded by the phrase: “This is an exercise message,” to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding.
Meanwhile, the different agencies will be out in the field responding to the “situation.” Rescue personnel will have to help the injured, fight fires, repair pole lines and clean up water spills.
That Operation Shake and Bake is only a drill will be very visible and clear to the community, said Blanton.
There will be signs on the road as well as media alerts prior to the drill.
Drill organizers are also looking for approximately 40 volunteers from the community to pose as victims in the emergency.
Those interested should contact, Joseph Ferrerra, director of community relations at 582-3529.
The goal of the exercise is to enhance emergency management readiness for the Town of Truckee area and to identify future training requirements.
“This is not a drill to look for failure, it’s a drill to work the system,” Botto said. “The whole idea is to perform.”
Blanton added, “It is also to familiarize people with our resources.”
The drill will last approximately two and a half hours.
“The first three hours of any large-scale emergency are the most critical,” said Botto.
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