PORT TOWNSEND — Increased activity this week at Naval Magazine Indian Island is no cause for alarm, the U.S. Navy says.
Indian Island is part of a West Coast disaster-preparedness, response and recovery exercise scheduled annually to evaluate emergency management program readiness, according to a Navy statement.
“This exercise allows us to practice the response procedures we already have in place to make sure we are consistently ready to take action in case of a disaster,” said Cmdr. Gary Martin, commanding officer of the ammunition station across the bay from Port Townsend.
The exercise will not impact the public, and traffic on major roads should not be affected, according to the Navy.
Code named Citadel Rumble 2011, or CR-11, the exercise is designed to provide a focused training environment for installations to exercise damage assessment, evacuation plans, personnel accountability, recovery and consequence management plans and procedures.
The exercise includes a scenario that simulates a catastrophic eruption of Mount Rainier, earthquakes and wildfires, affecting Naval Base Kitsap — of which Naval Magazine Indian Island is part — and Naval Station Everett.
“Indian Island is an important neighbor in our community,” said Jefferson County Emergency Management Program Manager Bob Hamlin.
“We have a good mutual respect and understanding, which comes from training together during exercises.”
The Navy installations will be working in collaboration with state Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forestry Service and respective county officials to respond to the simulated natural disaster.
Jefferson County personnel will activate their emergency operations center and closely coordinate response efforts with Navy personnel on Indian Island.
Kitsap County emergency management personnel will be participating in the portion of the exercise that affects such other Naval Base Kitsap installations as Submarine Base Bangor and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Additionally, the Kitsap Sheriff’s Office and State Patrol are possible responders in the exercise, the Navy said.
Similar civilian agency response is planned in the area around the Everett Naval Station.
The Navy said this week’s exercise is “more robust and realistic” than in past years.
“This year’s Citadel Rumble will test our ability to respond to the disasters caused by an erupting volcano and accompanying earthquakes with severely degraded support systems,” said Training and Readiness Program Director Melanie Reeder.
“Planners and responders will be challenged to respond and provide support with very limited resources and must find ways to overcome impediments caused by the destructive power of nature.”
________Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.