Natrona County, Casper Agency Reps Outline Emergency Response Exercises
Starting sometime Tuesday morning, numerous first-responding agencies will report to scenes of emergency exercises across Natrona County to test their coordination, capabilities and communications, representatives of several law enforcement agencies said Monday.
The Wyoming National Guard is overseeing these week-long exercises in Natrona and other counties, said Kiera Grogran, spokeswoman for the Natrona County Sheriff's Office during a news conference by the Hall of Justice downtown on Monday.
The exercise is known as "Vigilant Guard 23-2," which is designed to ensure that emergency response organizations are well-prepared and ready to effectively respond to crises that may arise in their community.
The who, what, where and when of the exercise won't be known to the agencies until someone reports them, Casper firefighter Leighton Burgen said. "They really don't know what's coming."
Natrona County Coroner James Whipps added, "Emergencies don't happen at set times."
Responding agencies will be from the Sheriff's Office, the Natrona County Fire District, Casper Fire Department, the Casper Police Department, Natrona County Emergency Management and others, Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kiera Grogan said.
"Everyone in Natrona County is going to have a role in this exercise," she said.
Burgen added, "coordinating something like this takes a lot of work, a lot of effort."
At least one exercise will feature 30 to 40 actors and mannequins as victims, said Dan Kittinger, deputy director of operations and public safety at the Casper-Natrona County International Airport
Burgen said the exercise will test the capabilities of responding agencies, and push them to be better.
Whipps added that the exercise will expose gaps in coordination and communications.
During the exercise, residents may notice an increased presence of emergency response personnel, military vehicles, and aircraft in certain areas.
Impacts on emergency services to county residents will be minimal, and they still will be able to get help if they need it, Grogan said.
Neither Grogan, Kittinger nor Burgen knew how much the exercise would cost, but Burgen said it probably is at least partially paid for by federal funds.