Ever Vigilant

This week, Minnesota was the center of the Vigilant Guard 2015 exercises, designed to allow the State a chance to work with multiple levels of government to develop and refine their emergency coordination, response and recovery management techniques, according to ABC News. The Vigilant Guard exercises have been conducted throughout the United States four times a year, since 2006.

With participation from the National Guard, and various first responders, the exercises will also be taking advantage of the FEMA-provided Mobile Operations Emergency Center (MEOC) as a control hub. The MOEC offers a communications center for disaster response, with computers, phones, and radio monitoring capabilities, as well as a full video conference environment to assist both local and remote coordination activities. With such an environment, military and civilian agencies can be housed together so as to minimize delays in response. For the purpose of training, exercises for emergency response in the current Vigilant Guard will include items centered around an oil train, cyber attack, HAZMAT, collapsed structures, search and extraction, decontamination, and triage.

The MEOC is now one of 21 available in the United States, with the unit being used in the current exercises being delivered by the 148th Fighter Wing, and will be available on request from the governor for disaster response. Capable of deployment within 2.5 hours of notification, and operational setup within 30 minutes, it is expected to be an asset in times of need.