Hospitals, first responders, National Guard forces and others are participating this week in the largest emergency response drill in Arizona's history. More than 250 agencies and 8,000 participants are taking part in "Vigilant Guard," an exercise designed to assess disaster preparedness in Arizona.
The drill began Thursday and runs through Sunday.
"This is a great opportunity for our state, local, federal, and tribal agency partners to respond to a simulated catastrophic event of this nature," said Brig. Gen. Jose Salinas, director of joint staff, Arizona National Guard.
The exercise will consist of two phases - a simulated flood and a simulated Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) detonated in the Valley. The scenario will test plans for simulated mass evacuation, mass fatality, medical response, receiving, staging and delivery of federal resources, continuity of operation/direction of control of state government and public information.
The community may see large-scale disaster response teams at local hospitals, but should not be alarmed.
"Arizona responders have extensive real-life experience with wildfires and floods," said Lou Trammell, director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. "So we developed a one-two punch of catastrophic incidents that - despite the unlikelihood - could happen and would offer an opportunity to educate participants."