VRFA hosts regional disaster rescue training along the Green River

When a disaster strikes, first responders are faced with the challenge of coordinating reconnaissance and rescue efforts.

The VRFA and several local, state and federal public safety agencies combine resources to test their skills in a disaster rescue response Aug, 29.

The exercise will simulate major flooding on the Green River from Pea Patch fields in South Kent and upstream to Flaming Geyser State Park.

Auburn residents can expect to see increased aircraft activity from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the "Big Bend" area of the Green River east of 4th Street SE and V St SE and upstream to the Highway 18 Bridge.

Increased aircraft activity also will be seen in an around the Auburn Air Academy, 3300 Academy Drive SE. As many as 10 aircraft may be operating in the valley at any one time. At least 70 firefighters, police and support personnel will be involved in the exercise.

This exercise objective is to demonstrate the ability for the Seattle Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Regional Aviation partner organizations to be interoperable with state and local agencies by communicating and operating collectively during emergency operations.

The exercise includes seven individual scenario's all operating simultaneously throughout the Green River Valley. Helicopters from the King County Sheriff's office, Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy will be participating.

The Washington State Patrol and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management will have fixed wing aircraft involved in the exercise. An Air Command will be set up at the Auburn Air Academy to coordinate the activity of all participating aircraft.

Participating agencies in the exercise are Valley Regional Fire Authority, Seattle Fire, Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority, Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety, SeaTac Fire Department, Tukwila Fire Department, King County Fire District #44, Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, King County Medic One, King County Office of Emergency Management, Washington State Patrol and Valley Communications Center.

Public access into the Green River trail area off of 4th Street SE and V Street SE will be restricted during the exercise. The public should stay clear of the area until the exercise ends at 4:30 p.m.

Auburn police will be at the scene and assisting with site security.

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