CCA's Disaster Management Institute, faculty, staff, students to play key role in Sept. 23 Operation Mountain Guardian

WHAT: The Community College of Aurora will play an integral role in the Sept. 23 Operation Mountain Guardian Emergency Exercise when its Disaster Management Institute (DMI) serves as the Master Exercise Control Center. The MECC will manage the entire, day-long multijurisdictional operation. The DMI was designed and equipped with the most current communications capabilities to allow both CCA students and working professionals to experience and train in management of simulated disasters of all types and sizes. This grand-scale exercise will take place at multiple locations throughout the Denver/Aurora metro and will include notable settings such as Denver Union Station, the Lowry Campus/CCA, University of Colorado Hospital, Denver International Airport, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and Park Meadows Mall. In addition to serving as the command post for the operation, the DMI’s adjacent control room will serve as the Venue Exercise Control Center (VECC), managing operations for the Lowry Campus portion of the drill, which will be extensive and will involve up to 800 people.

According to organizers, this Homeland Security exercise has been in the planning stages for nearly two years. It is designed to test the capabilities of regional first responders in interagency collaboration and communications in a scenario that will involve a terrorist-driven catastrophic situation. Among other objectives, the event will demonstrate federal, state, and local dedication to emergency preparedness.

The exercise is sponsored by the North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region, Denver Urban Area Security Initiative, and Front Range Metropolitan Medical Response System. The North Central region is organized around 10 counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, and Jefferson. Select CCA faculty have been vital to the exercise design and planning.

WHEN: Friday, Sept. 23, 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; participants at CCA will report at 7:30 a.m.; the exercise at CCA will start at 9 a.m.

WHERE: The Disaster Management Institute is located at CCA’s Center for Simulation, Lowry Campus, 9235 E. 10th Drive, Denver, Colorado 80230.

WHO: Approximately 2,000 volunteers and professional emergency responders will participate in Operation Mountain Guardian, one of the largest emergency exercises in Colorado history. More than 100 agencies will take part. Exercise planning and execution was supported with grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security through FEMA Region VIII and the State of Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.

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