As part of the four-day Cascadia Rising earthquake drill, Whatcom County Fire District #5 located at Point Roberts, received simulated medical supplies that were flown to the remote and isolated peninsula by a Washington National Guard helicopter on Thursday afternoon, June 9.
Supporting the simulated medical supply drop was the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Communication Unit. According to WCFD #5 Chief John Shields, “The partnership demonstrated between our Fire Department, Whatcom County and the Washington National Guard is representative of the level of the shared commitment to serve the needs of our community of Point Roberts.”
Point Roberts was specifically picked for the joint agency medical supply drop due to the fact that should a real event such as Cascadia Rising occur it may be difficult to reach as even under normal conditions you must enter Canada, then re-enter the United States. In a Cascadia event, the road access to Point Roberts may be impossible for some time due to subsidence and liquefaction. Point Roberts would most likely be cut off with air resupply as the only alternative.
Beginning at Gray Army Airfield at Joint Base Lewis McCord, the Guard’s 56th Information Operations Group used the helicopter to simulate delivering medical supplies to areas that had been cut off by the effects of a simulated 9.0 earthquake and its resulting tsunami. Other areas that received supplies were Paine Field, Oak Harbor, Anacortes, Orcas Island, and Friday Harbor. Col. Curt Simonson stated, “Our mission is to provide support to local authorities during disasters and this exercise is an example of our dedication to support local government.” For more information on the capabilities of the Guard, click on Washington National Guard.