Great Falls will host disaster training exercise in March - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Great Falls will host disaster training exercise in March

Posted: Feb 08, 2018 4:18 PM Updated:

Community leaders met on Thursday to review planning for a state-wide disaster exercise taking place next month.

Vigilant Guard is a National Guard Bureau exercise that is conducted in four states each year.

Disaster & Emergency Services State Training Officer Rick Forkel says Montana has been planning for their exercise for the past two years.

"All of that gives the local agencies a lot of opportunities to practice certain things and activate emergency operations plans and validate processes,” Forkel said.

Forkel said that Cascade County and the City of Great Falls have stepped up to take advantage of the exercise.

The exercise will start with an earthquake that takes place in the western part of Montana, which causes dam failures leading to Great Falls.

There will be a joint information center, shelters, and evacations to other cities in the state.

Along with local assets and Montana National Guard, personnel from Malmstrom Air Force Base will also participate in the exercise.

“There will be some exercise emergency messaging going out to the community. Today we are deciding how that is going to look and what platforms we are going to use,” Forkel said.

The majority of the exercise will take place in Cascade County, but hospitals in Billings, Kalispell, and Missoula will also be participating as well.

Vigilant Guard will start on March 2nd and run through March 7th.

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