Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Clatsop County, local police, fire, rescue, hospitals and other agencies conducted a Mass Rescue and Maritime Security exercise on the Astoria waterfront Wednesday.The exercise focused on initial response actions and interagency cooperation during a significant on-water event and provided the response community an opportunity to improve preparedness and practice command and control in the field within an incident command/unified command framework.

The scenario consisted of a simulated cruise ship, represented by the Job Corps vessel Ironwood, experiencing an explosion and grounding west of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.  Numerous casualties aboard the vessel required search and rescue and victim transportation to shore for triage and medical treatment by local EMS and hospital staff, with some victims taken for simulated follow-on treatment at local hospitals.  An investigation of the explosion was ensued by appropriate law enforcement agencies to determine causes and follow-on actions.

Agencies participating in this event included: Coast Guard Sector Columbia River, Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, US Job Corps, Clatsop County Emergency Management, FBI and Coast Guard Investigative Services, Columbia River Bar Pilots, Port of Astoria, Oregon State Police, Astoria Fire Dept., Astoria Police Dept., Cannon Beach Fire Dept., Port of Portland Fire & Rescue, Clatsop Co. Sheriff Office, Clatsop Co. Public Health, Medix Ambulance Service, Clatsop Co. Red Cross, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Providence Seaside Hospital and other local agencies and stakeholders.

"Crisis response is a team sport; the complexity of this exercise reinforced how many different private sector, federal, state and local agencies have critical roles to play in safeguarding our communities during any significant event," said Capt. Bruce Jones, Coast Guard Sector Columbia River commander.  "The enthusiasm, commitment and teamwork which each of the participating groups displayed was impressive, and tells me that we have a solid framework in place for an interagency response here at the Gateway to the Columbia River."

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