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DHSS opens its emergency operation center as part of Alaska Shield 2014

Hale Borealis response team leads the Medical Branch operation

March 27, 2014, ANCHORAGE — With today's official start of Alaska Shield 2014 — the multi-agency emergency response training exercise coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1964 earthequake — the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Emergency Operations section, has opened its emergency operation center. The center will be the hub for all department activities revolving around Alaska Shield.

The exercise will simulate the type of response that would be required in the event of another catastrophic earthquake.

“In an event of this magnitude, medical support will be critical,” said Andy Jones, emergency operations manager and the incident commander for the department’s emergency operation center. “We’ll be training our personnel and testing our plans. This type of exercise is critical if we’re to be prepared for when a major catastrophe hits Alaska.”

The department is involved in numerous exercises around the state, including the Alaska Medical Station in Palmer, transport of “victims” between over-flowing hospitals and emergency facilities, evacuation of “victims” from remote communities to larger hubs, and even the evacuation of “victims” to emergency facilities outside of Alaska.

The center — located in the Frontier Building in Anchorage — is being manned by dozens of employees and volunteers from state, local and federal agencies.

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