REGIONAL DISASTER-TRAINING EXERCISE BEGINS WEDNESDAY; VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

REGIONAL DISASTER-TRAINING EXERCISE BEGINS WEDNESDAY; VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Doña Ana County Office of Emergency Management will host the Las Cruces coordination for Operation Desert Haven 2007, a regional emergency-response training exercise.

The exercise is sponsored by William Beaumont Army Medical Center and directly supported by Fort Bliss and the cities of El Paso, Las Cruces and Alamogordo.

The full-scale exercise will be conducted Wednesday, June 13, and will replicate many of the same circumstances experienced during the support provided during hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. The goal is to better prepare the community to receive evacuees from the Gulf Coast region during hurricane season.

Execution of the exercise will be conducted in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Alamogordo in separate but parallel exercises.

In Las Cruces, the exercise is supported by the City of Las Cruces, Doña Ana County, the New Mexico Region II Emergency Medical Services, Southwest Ambulance, New Mexico State University Police Department, NMSU Nursing Education, American Red Cross, Roadrunner Transit System, the local amateur radio clubs and their operators, and numerous volunteers.

Memorial Medical Center, Mountain View Regional Hospital, Mesilla Valley Psychiatric Hospital and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Southern New Mexico also are participating in the exercise.

In Las Cruces, members of the community can participate in the exercise from their homes or offices. To do so, call (505) 646-4550 between 9 and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, to receive additional information concerning the exercise and to speak directly with a volunteer at the Alternate Disaster Answering Point Telecenter (ADAPt) Center.

In El Paso, the exercise is supported by William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Fort Bliss, the city and county of El Paso, and numerous local volunteers. The exercise in El Paso will begin at the SMA Silas L. Copeland Departure/Arrival Airfield Control Group Operations Facility (DAACG) on Biggs Army Airfield, Fort Bliss, and end at each civilian hospital within the city. The Peake Psychiatric Hospital in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, also is a participant in the El Paso exercise.

In Alamogordo, this exercise is being supported by the city of Alamogordo, Otero County, the Region II Emergency Medical Services, AMR Ambulance and numerous volunteers. Gerald Champion Hospital is participating in the exercise.

For additional information, contact Lt. Col. Allen B. King, III, at (915) 569-2053 or by e-mail at allen.king@amedd.army.mil.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.