Federal Officials Refuse to Disclose Nature of Exercise
July 20, 2016
Want to take part in the largest dramatic production Vermont has ever put on? We’re talking a cast of 5,000 participants performing over nine days at 50 sites around the state, at a cost of $570,000. The live-action thriller promises plenty of “death” and “destruction,” and may include one or more of the following simulations: terrorist attacks, collapsed structures, cyber warfare, chemical and/or biological agents, and massive casualties that overwhelm local hospitals.
This theatrical production isn’t for entertainment purposes, however, but a disaster-preparedness drill dubbed Vigilant Guard, which will run from July 25 until August 2. The federally funded exercise, which has been in the works for three years, is designed to test the response capabilities of the state and region’s military and emergency services personnel. Participating agencies will include at least a half dozen local municipalities and 16 area hospitals, as well as Vermont’s Army and Air National Guards, the Department of Homeland Security, the Vermont Department of Health, the American Red Cross, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to name a few.