Matthew Bettenhausen, the state's Emergency Management Agency secretary, joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the state's largest port security full-scale exercise.
The port terrorism drill is the sixth statewide homeland security and disaster preparedness training in the annual Golden Guardian Series. More than 3,000 agencies participated in training this week in the coastal, southern and inland regional areas of California.
Ports were the primary focus of this years exercise because of the billions of dollars recently poured into Homeland and port security by the federal government. Since 2004, Sacramento has been infused with $37 million for homeland security investments.
The Golden Guardian training is designed so that local agencies can apply those funds to a real-life scenario and practice using new skills, equipment and procedures used in these emergency scenarios, according to Sr. Emergency Services Coordinator Gerald Kopp.
"This in essence is a test in how effective those funds are," he said. "Every agency has their own little niche they are trying to work out."
Each participating agency is provided with basic information about the simulated event, and communication is key to understanding where to get resources, who an agency will report to, and who will report to that agency, Kopp said.
Three different scenarios played out during Wednesday's exercise, which started with the terrorist takeover of the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien; a WWII cargo ship now used for tourism. At least 16 hostages were taken at knife point to the captain's salon, where they were under the constant surveillance of two terrorists.
The FBI's SWAT team responded to the ship, with the assistance of local SWAT officers, including Woodland police and the Yolo County Sheriff's Department. SWAT officers arrived at the ship via the Sacramento River to avoid alerting the terrorists to their presence. Teams began negotiations with the terrorists, who agreed to hand over two hostages in exchange for a case of bottled water.
"They held me out on a deck with a knife to my throat before the exchange," said pseudo hostage Betty Kreidier, who was held captive on the ship for more than three hours.
Meanwhile, bomb squads from the California Highway Patrol, Yolo County Sheriff's Department and other agencies boarded the ship to locate and defuse four bombs.
Officers must take care to consider the "ramifications of techniques used to disarm the bomb or they might put a hole in the ship," exercise coordinator Nick Concolino said.
Finally, area fire departments responded to a fire in the ships flying bridge, an area that serves as an outdoor operating station. West Sacramento fire department was the lead responding agency but the Woodland Fire Department and surrounding agencies aided as backup in accordance with Yolo County's Automatic Aid agreement.
The Golden Guardian full-scale exercises have
not only included terrorists attacks since the agencies inception in 2000, but
natural disasters as well. Next year the inland region will simulate a flood
Schwarzenegger leads U.S.' largest
statewide port security exercise
08:06, May 20, 2010
The Golden Guardian Statewide Exercise Series
was first implemented by Schwarzenegger in 2004 and has become an annual
statewide exercise series conducted to coordinate prevention, preparation,
response and recovery mechanisms of city, county and state governmental
entities, and private sector and volunteer organizations.
The goal of the Golden Guardian Exercise Series is to build upon the lessons learned from this and subsequent exercises conducted throughout the nation, as well as real-world events. Golden Guardian is currently the largest statewide exercise program of its kind in the country.
The theme of this year's Golden Guardian exercise, the sixth in the series, is port terrorism. The exercise focuses on the state's response and recovery to multiple terrorist attacks in the Bay Area, Southern Region and Inland Region.
Cal EMA partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard and their Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program in the Bay Area Ports, Port of San Diego, and Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In the Port of Sacramento, Cal EMA is supporting the Sacramento Urban Area Security Initiative during their one-day full-scale exercise.
The Golden Guardian 2010 has also partnered with a full-scale exercise with the San Diego County and the California State University San Marcos responding to multiple shooters at a World Cup Soccer event and the detonation of a "dirty bomb" near the stadium.
Explosions will ripple through the Bay Area today --
but those averse to objects blowing up are urged to worry not. It's all part of
Today is the Golden Guardian full-scale, port security exercise across the state -- and "The Ports of Oakland, Redwood City, and Benicia will all suffer various degrees of explosions," according to organizers.You may hear some booms and see smoke hanging over the bay as attacks on cargo ships and bombings are simulated.
Also today, the Navy will demonstrate its militarily trained dolphins and seals down by AT&T Park. This, blessedly, will not result in explosions or smoke. So we're told.
Golden Guardian 2010 Full-Scale Exercise
The Department of Emergency Management is proud to announce that San Francisco is participating in the Statewide Golden Guardian full-scale, port security exercise on May 18, 2010. One of the main reasons we conduct exercises is to test plans and procedures and identify areas that need to be changed, improved and/or updated. This exercise will focus on a terrorist attack scenario on Bay Area ports. There are two rationales for testing this scenario:
- It is in alignment with San Franciscos identification as a Tier One City by the Department of Homeland Security. This designation means we may be more likely to experience a terrorist attack than other designated areas designated as Tier Two.
- It reinforces our commitment to the Strategic Plan and the Emergency Response Plan by leveraging our relationships with our regional and state partners.
Scenario Type: The Golden Guardian exercise is based on an explosive attack/bombing using improvised explosive devices (National Planning Scenario #12).
Scenario: On May 18, 2010, at 0900 multiple notionalized explosions will occur throughout the Bay Area. The Ports of Oakland, Redwood City, and Benicia will all suffer various degrees of explosions. An explosion does not occur in the Port of San Francisco. It is expected that the USCG Commandant or Captain of the Port will raise the MARSEC level (port security threat level) for all Bay Area ports to level 2 and it is projected that the level will be raised to 3 (the highest port threat level).
Department Commitment: DEM will be activating the Emergency Operation Center for this exercise. Participation in the Golden Guardian Exercise is open to all City Departments, Agencies and our private sector and non-profit partners. However, we are asking the following departments to send a minimum of two-three representatives to serve a shift in the EOC: Police, Fire, Sheriff, MTA (both Muni and Parking and Traffic), Port, SFO, DPW, Technology, SFUSD, Emergency Communications, 311, DEM, DPH, HSA and RPD.
Lunch: Lunch will be provided to all exercise participants.
Parking: Parking is very limited at 1011 Turk Street, it is recommended that participants use public transportation.