Next week, Scottsdale will be buzzing with Blackhawk helicopters, a hospital will transform into a tent city and college students will act as patients contaminated from a lethal substance.
The high-intensity drill, planned since August, is expected to gauge group response and communication efforts in case a terrorist attack ever happens in Scottsdale.
The city is partnering with the Air National Guard’s 161st Unit at the Papago Military Reservation, 5636 E. McDowell Road, and other groups to simulate a disaster from Monday to April 28.
Called the “Coyote Crisis Campaign,” the simulated disaster will climax Wednesday with Blackhawk helicopters in the air, lots of military personnel and general calamity at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital.
The simulated drill will result in 10,000 casualties and center on a 5-mile radius in south Scottsdale. It will involve the city’s three largest employers — the city, Scottsdale Healthcare and General Dynamics Decision Systems, which is a military communications division at 8201 E. McDowell Road, said Keith Jones, spokesman for Scottsdale Healthcare.
The drill marks the first time in the state and perhaps the country that the military is partnering with community members to see how effectively they can respond to an incident, said Mike Phillips, city spokesman.
“The scenario is that there’s some bad guys at General Dynamics,” he said. “The Scottsdale Police Department’s SWAT team and K-9 unit will respond to the scene, go into the building and search for the terrorists.”
At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, about 100 imitation patients will be transported to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital to be decontaminated.
Phillips said he didn’t know the total cost of the drill, but said that part of the city’s costs will be covered by the police department’s exercise training budget.
Seven National Guard units from states including California, Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada also will participate in the drill, Phillips said.