Emergency drill taking place tomorrow

Press release

The Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management is sponsoring a multi-agency international full-scale exercise set for Thursday, Aug. 26. This exercise will provide participants with an opportunity to test response capabilities plans, policies, procedures and training. It will focus on decision-making, coordination, and integration of resources with other jurisdictions and organizations during a simulated train derailment and hazardous materials spill on the river. The expected outcome of the exercise is to test and strengthen interagency response, communication, and coordination. The exercise is being designed and delivered by Paramount Planning, a public safety consulting firm out of Grand Rapids, Minn. with assistance from a local exercise design team of first responders. This will be the first-ever response exercise of this scale along the international border area and has been a tremendous show of cross-border partnership and collaboration.

The base scenario for the exercise will center on a train derailment on the Ranier Rail Bridge between Fort Frances, Ontario and Ranier, Minn, with a hazardous materials release on the river and nearby ground. Agencies will then conduct large-scale response operations, evacuation and sheltering procedures, as well as medial and environmental protection activities. Local media and actors will be involved to help simulate real-world response actions by the public. Dispatch will also test mass notification systems between countries and push out a live public alert to all local cell phones, radio and TV stations when the exercise starts begins.

More than 25 separate agencies are expected to participate in the exercise, with additional staff assistance from local, regional, and state partners. Over 150 total participants are expected on Aug. 26.