WISH-TV posted a story on its website today announcing a large scale emergency response drill that is being conducted this week, code named Vibrant Response 2014, that involves agencies from more than 28 states, the largest ever exercise conducted in North America. To what emergency is the practice drill in response? The explosion of a nuclear bomb in Speedway, home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where this weekend's NACAR Brickyard 400 race is being run.
This week agencies from more than 28 states are practicing for a large scale emergency in Indianapolis. The exercise, Vibrant Response 2014, is the largest exercise ever conducted in North America. Local, state and federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security are simulating their response to a nuclear bomb hitting Speedway.
Officials are acting through every scenario they would encounter should a nuclear bomb ever hit Indianapolis.
“Every incident, every emergency, every weather emergency, fire, every bombing and terrorist attack is local. It would start at the local level, in this case in Marion county. In a situation like this, we would expect them to turn to the state very quickly. We would then turn to our federal assets very quickly,” said John Erickson with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
If a bomb were to hit Indianapolis, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security said citizens should seek shelter immediately. The most important thing to do in the first few minutes is to stay inside.
“Get into a home, get in a business, where ever you’re at. Don’t travel. Get into a school, get as many walls as possible between you and the outside,” said Erickson.
Officials then start monitoring radiation levels, coordinating communication, and developing plans to get citizens to a safe location where they can seek treatment. Erickson said the exercise has been very beneficial so far.
“I’d like to say it’s worked flawlessly, but there are always going to be hurdles to overcome. The goal is to find out where we need to meld processes better and how we can work together better,” said Erickson.
Christopher Royce with the Environmental Protection Agency said training exercises like Vibrant Response 2014 are opportunities for state and federal agencies to work together, that prove valuable in real-life emergencies.
“The quicker that we can get together and work together, getting services back to the community and getting everyone back to their homes, back to a normal state of living the better it is. It helps us to better understand other states, other federal agencies and other municipalities and how they operate,” said Royce.Last year, a National Guard website posted a story about thousands of military and civilian officials gathering at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh and the Mascatutuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville as part of an annual Vibrant Response exercise for dealing with nuclear bombs being set off in two major metropolitan areas. That exercise involved about 5,700 service members and civilians from various federal, state and local agencies.
UPDATE: WTHR has more on the parts of the exercise being performed at Camp Atterbury and Mascatatuck with crisis actors. It says 5,500 persons are participating in the exercise, which runs through August 7.
According to this WISH-TV report, even the White House is monitoring the exercise taking place here in Indiana this week. The simulation involves the detonation of a 10 kiloton nuclear bomb in Speedway. A prior study of the impact of releasing a similar bomb just blocks from the White House a few years ago indicated that the bomb blast would cause devastation one-half mile in every direction, reducing most buildings to rubble. "But outside that blast zone, the study concluded, even such a nuclear explosion would be pretty survivable." The study estimated 323,000 injuries, with more than 45,000 dead. The blast would be about 5,000 times the strength of the bomb