NASA disaster response and recovery personnel at Moffett Field hosted over 300 of their colleagues from federal, state and local emergency response agencies in an earthquake preparedness exercise. The event, called MOBEX 2000, was held November 14-16 at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. It involved training and search and rescue exercises simulating emergency response to a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. The 3-day event was designed to strengthen coordination procedures among the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Urban Search and Rescue Teams, NASA's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and California's Urban Search and Rescue Team (Task Force-3). There were three components to the exercise, including: specialized training in disaster management support; participation in functional drills as part of the FEMA incident support team; and the 3-day functional activity itself.
"The primary purpose of the exercise was to test FEMA's rapid mobilization capabilities and NASA's ability to support them. This exercise was intended to help NASA and FEMA assess their ability to bring together personnel from several federal, state and local agencies to mobilize an organized response to a large-scale disaster. To that end, the exercise was a great success.
Three major collapsed structure exercises were conducted on November 15th. These exercises allowed the participating teams to practice critical rescue skills in a controlled environment that realistically simulated the types of conditions found in a real collapsed structure. The exercises were conducted in DART's collapsed structure rescue training facility. Collapsed mockups were set up in advance by DART personnel.
The simulated "big one" struck at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of November 13th, FEMA activated 3 of it's twenty-seven 62-member urban search and rescue teams from Los Angeles, Nevada and New Mexico and dispatch them to NASA Ames. Two of the teams arrive at Moffett Federal airfield on November 14th board U.S. Air Force cargo planes. The LA team came via ground transportation. In advance of the USAR arrival, 60 members from incident support teams assessed "damage" and set up a command center. Incident support team members are responsible for task force operations, planning and logistics. FEMA and DART team members served as contact personnel and support.
California's Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force-3, based in Menlo Park, CA, which includes members of NASA's DART, was transported to Fort Ord for the final element of the mobilization exercise on November 17-18th.
In preparation for the activation and mobilization exercise, personnel from NASA Ames, FEMA, the California State Office of Emergency Services, and the Santa Clara and San Mateo County Offices of Emergency Services participated in a "tabletop" exercise on November 13th. The tabletop exercise was designed to develop collaborative working relationships in preparation for an actual earthquake or other disaster.
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