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Idaho Army National Guard train in disaster simulation

Posted: 9:42 PM, Mar 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-12 23:43:29-04

A catastrophic disaster simulation at the Orchard Combat Training Center South of Boise is designed to test the Idaho National Guard's response to an emergency.

"We rely very heavily upon our out of state brothers and sisters," said General Russell Johnson, Idaho Army National Guard.

The Idaho Office of Emergency Management and the Montana, Utah, and Washington National Guards as well as other agencies are also part of the exercise.

"So that if something as catastrophic as an earthquake of this magnitude, they'd be able to just go home from work, collect their gear and get on the road and actually come down and do this," said Colonel Jonathan Steinbach.

Johnson says it mimics an earthquake and it's aftermath.

"Fires, floods, and other catastrophes, but earthquakes by far, we have found are the most dangerous and the most destructive," said Johnson.

Steinbach says part of the scenario is a structure that has collapsed. Soldiers and airmen must stabilize the building. The search and rescue team has to cut through walls to create holes to get to people from inside.

"There are victims that can walk and can't walk and they go into the hot zone in this equipment and find them and either guide them out if they can walk or call our search and extraction or our medical technical teams to go in and get them," said Steinbach.

"See the soldiers and the airmen that have come to Idaho as well as the Idaho national guard saddle up and really put forth just a tremendous effort to improve and to get better to learn how to deal with these real world, potentially real world emergencies," said Johnson.