This Friday, March 18 photo shows an Air Force C-17 at Juneau International Airport as it ferried gear to Juneau for a hazardous materials exercise with the city and other organizations. (David Rigas / Juneau Empire)

This Friday, March 18 photo shows an Air Force C-17 at Juneau International Airport as it ferried gear to Juneau for a hazardous materials exercise with the city and other organizations. (David Rigas / Juneau Empire)

City and military hold hazardous material exercise

The exercise will test the city’s response to a hazmat emergency.

Juneau residents may witness military and emergency personnel carrying out a multi-day hazardous materials exercise running through Wednesday evening.

Residents should not be concerned, said Assistant Chief Ed Quinto of Capital City Fire/Rescue.

“Military is here. The FBI is here. The Coast Guard is playing, the police and the fire department are playing,” Quinto said in a phone interview. “The fire department will be there with our fire trucks, ambulances and equipment. But we will continue to operate as a fire department.”

[Military wraps up major cold-weather exercise]

The exercise is unrelated to Arctic Edge 2022, which had participating units operating in Juneau and was focused on defense of the homeland. The current exercise is designed to reinforce training to deal with hazardous material emergencies, according to the City and Borough of Juneau.

Military personnel from around the country began arriving over the weekend in military transport aircraft, Quinto said. Personnel are coming from the Lower 48 to participate in the exercise. During the course of the exercise, residents may see military and city personnel in hazmat suits taking part in the simulations.

“It’s mostly geared toward how to handle hazardous material. We’re part of the statewide 104 teams,” Quinto said. “They want to practice our teams in dealing with hazmat. For big incidents we can’t handle, we call in the military or the civil support teams.”

The exercise will test both the city’s teams, as well as how the lines of communication work for larger hazmat incidents. The Juneau International Airport, CCFR’s Hagevig Fire Training Center, and other locations will be used for the simulations, Quinto said.

“There will be multiple venues,” Quinto said. “They were setting things up for the scenario all week.”

CCFR’s hazmat team, as well as the department at large, will participate in the exercises, as well as simulating scaling up the size of the response and involving the National Guard’s civil support teams and the FBI.

“Some of the scenarios, we’ll be using our sensors or gearing up in our personnel protective equipment and putting our policies into play,” Quinto said. “We want to make sure we identify the weaknesses in our team so we can improve them further on.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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