Largest Massachusetts Homeland Security Drill Under Way

Sirens, helicopters, military vehicles, first responders, and other disaster response measures are expected to be present this week in various locations across the state. The public should not be alarmed, as the emergency response presence is part of the training exercise.

The largest homeland security training exercise ever conducted in Massachusetts, Vigilant Guard MA 19-1, began Nov. 5 and will run through Friday, Nov. 9.

Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, local police and fire departments, federal public safety officials, private sector partners, the Massachusetts National Guard, and representatives from other states are undergoing a training exercise to test their procedures and processes under the stress of large-scale disaster and domestic threat situations.

The times, locations, and disaster or threat type have not been disclosed to the public in order to maintain the integrity of the scenarios for those involved in the training. The first responders and other participants will need to react as they would in the event of a disaster or threat actually happening — with zero prior notice.

Sirens, helicopters, military vehicles, first responders, and other disaster response measures are expected to be present this week in various locations across the state. The public should not be alarmed, as the emergency response presence is part of the training exercise.

"This type of stress test is what we need to be prepared to support government and private entities during a real-world disaster," said Col. Margaret C. White, director of Military Support, Massachusetts National Guard. "I am confident that this exercise will make us collectively stronger, more focused, and more effective than ever before."

According to White, the training will challenge all involved, testing their ability to assess and respond to dynamic and complicated scenarios, both as individuals and in collaboration with one another.

"The citizens of Massachusetts depend on state and federal agencies to work together to prevent, protect, respond, and recover from disasters," said Maj. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard. "Throughout the week-long exercise, the scenarios will be as realistic as possible for those involved in the training but will pose no risk to the general public."

About the Author

Jessica Davis is the Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media.

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