Ships will be attacked, improvised explosives devices will be detonated, and fires will rage across the Bay Area during a statewide anti-terrorism exercise today.
The events, which are all simulated, are part of Golden Guardian, an annual homeland security and disaster preparedness exercise that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger started in 2004.
This year’s drill will test local responses to terrorist attacks on ports, said Karen Boyd, a spokeswoman for the city of Oakland. Drills in other years have included simulated natural disasters and disease outbreaks.
Today, emergency personnel at the Port of Oakland will simulate an attack on a container ship in which the ensuing explosion causes an onboard fire and hazardous materials release.
A fictional plume will then drift over the city of Oakland, forcing a simulated evacuation. About 300 people will participate.
Boyd said the drill is a good opportunity for local agencies to coordinate response plans for a crisis at the port, which she called one of the area’s “most sensitive assets.”
Members of every city agency and department, including police, fire, public works, parks and recreation and planning, will participate.
“It’s the fifth largest port in country and an important economic engine, not just for the Bay Area but the Central Valley and other parts of the country,” Boyd said. “It’s critical we protect it.”
Another drill in Redwood City will feature about 400 people participating in a simulated terrorist attack in which a ship is blown up.
The explosion will cause a simulated chemical release and fire, followed by a second explosion that will cause a building to collapse with victims trapped inside.
Emergency staff will respond to simulated injuries, perform triage, decontaminate the area and perform collapsed building rescues.
Although the event is not open to the public, emergency personnel and equipment will be visible near Seaport Boulevard. Members of the public are advised not to be alarmed by the activity.
In San Francisco, dolphins with the Navy Marine Mammal Program will uncover an IED and signal its location to divers. A dive team will then find and recover the device.