U.S., Mexico to Stage Disaster Today in Arizona

Federal, state, and local emergency response agencies from the United States and Mexico met yesterday in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico as part of a binational, hazardous substance emergency response training exercise that continues today in Yuma, Ariz. The "U.S.-Mexico Emergency Preparedness and Response Program" is a collaborative effort between the U.S. EPA, U.S. Northern Command, FEMA, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Mexican National Civil Protection Agency, 10 State Border Governors Emergency Management subcommittee, and the communities of San Luis Rio Colorado, San Luis, Yuma, Imperial County, and Mexicali.

"These emergency response exercises are a great opportunity to test our joint systems and to practice with our partners on both sides of the border, in advance of an incident," said Daniel A. Meer, chief of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Branch in EPA's Pacific Southwest office. “Because an environmental disaster an either side of the border has the potential to cause harm to area communities, emergency responders in both countries must be able to work as one single team."

Yesterday, first responder personnel from both countries met in San Luis Rio Colorado to discuss emergency preparedness and response. Today, an emergency response exercise will be staged in Yuma, highlighting how San Luis Rio Colorado, San Luis, Yuma, Imperial County, and Mexicali operate during a disaster, including cross border communications, linking emergency operation centers and medical response.

The EPA's Border 2012 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program is designed to protect the environment and public health for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. Border 2012 seeks to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/usmexicobo .

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