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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 1, Spring 2010

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Volume 24, Number 1, Spring 2010

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MCEER Joins in National Guard Earthquake Response Exercise

rubble pile at the Vigilant Guard NY training exercise

"Vigilant Guard New York” was a six-day training exercise simulating response to a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hitting the Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York region.

MCEER joined with members of the National Guard, and officials from Western New York, New York State and other state, regional and federal agencies in “Vigilant Guard New York,” a six-day training exercise simulating response to a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hitting the Buffalo/Niagara Falls region.

The event, which took place November 1-6, 2009, is one of four national-level disaster response exercises conducted annually by the National Guard Bureau and the United States Northern Command in conjunction with civilian first responders and local governments around the United States. It drew participation of more than 1,300 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as hundreds of first responders from New York, surrounding states and Canada.

Andre Filiatrault at the National Guard exercise in November.

Andre Filiatrault at the National Guard exercise in November.

During the exercise, teams from the National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other specialized units, conducted hazardous materials detection drills and simulated search and rescue operations at rubble piles, specially assembled to replicate a collapsed hospital and multi-level parking garage.

The rubble piles also served as a backdrop to a media conference during which Andre Filiatrault, MCEER Director and University at Buffalo Professor of Structural Engineering, joined National Guard, state and local leaders to open the exercise.

Dr. Filiatrault provided guidance to New York State Emergency Management officials in the development of a HAZUS scenario for the event. He drew upon his knowledge of Canada’s 1988 Saguenay, Quebec earthquake – the largest to occur in eastern North America in more than 50 years – in helping GIS planners refine their model for the postulated Buffalo earthquake.

Dr. Filiatrault and Donald Goralski, MCEER Chief of Staff, also participated in two table-top planning exercises to aid planners in their development of the exercise. Other MCEER investigators from the University at Buffalo – George Lee, Adel Sadek, and Andrew Whittaker – and UB Geology Professor Robert D. Jacobi also made themselves available for media interviews.

Vigilant Guard is a national exercise program that provides coordinated training among National Guard forces and local, state, regional and federal partners against a variety of different homeland security threats, including natural disasters and terrorist attack.

For more information on partnering opportunities with MCEER, contact at (716) 645-5151.