Truckee joins national terrorist preparedness
On May 29, Truckee will be attacked.
The United States government made a series of decisions that angered a terrorist group. The group decided to retaliate by attacking a location Americans wouldn’t expect.
Truckee was chosen, at random, as their target.
At 9 a.m., a frantic 911 call will come from Tahoe Truckee High School after several armed, masked men enter the campus and open fire on students.
Although this scenario may seem unlikely to area residents, Tahoe Forest Hospital will engage in an exercise Thursday to prepare for the possibility of a terrorist attack in Truckee.
“We have a very transient population. We have too many people who come in and out to say Truckee is isolated. In many ways we’re more vulnerable,” said Kim Thomas, exercise director for Operation Truckee Terror.
Although Tahoe Forest Hospital is mandated by its accrediting agency to perform two emergency preparedness exercises each year, the idea for the terrorist incident comes as an extension of Topoff2, a five-day simulated terrorist attack performed in several U.S. cities May 12 through 16.
Local, state and federal agencies were involved in the $16 million exercise – which included a bombing in Seattle, the spread of biological warfare in Chicago and several smaller disasters in other American cities.
Critics and government officials alike had mixed emotions as to the usefulness of the exercise, siting the lack of a surprise element and long-term effects of an attack didn’t properly prepare the agencies involved with the exercise, according to an article in the Seattle Times.
In the smaller-scaled Truckee “attack,” the Truckee Fire Department will transport high school drama students to the Tahoe Forest Hospital emergency room. Last week, the students participated in moulage, or injury simulation, for the activity.
During the exercise, hospital physicians and staff will attempt to treat the influx of “patients.” Hospital personnel will also set up a command center to keep everything as organized as possible, especially with the added obstacle of the hospital’s current construction.
After the simulation, Thomas will evaluate the hospital’s emergency preparedness manual based on the outcome of the exercise.
“The hospital is trying to be prepared,” Thomas said. “People who have been involved in these exercises actually say when faced with the actual disaster, they felt more prepared.”
Although Operation Truckee Terror was originally supposed to incorporate several local agencies – including a live simulated attack at the high school – Tahoe Forest Hospital and the fire department are the only two groups involved.
“The bottom line is, the Department of Homeland Security said they wanted people to have an ‘all-hazards approach’ to emergency preparedness,” Thomas said. “We try to do everything we would in a real emergency.”
Operation Truckee Terror will kick off at 8:45 a.m. with a pre-exercise briefing for all involved personnel. The simulation will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. with an exercise debriefing in the emergency department.
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