Army choppers to deliver relief supplies in mock disaster drill

Just how soon and how efficiently would food, water, medicine and other critical supplies reach the San Juans and other areas of Puget Sound in the event of a major earthquake?

That is the question that local, state, tribal and federal agencies intend to answer in this week's Evergreen Logistics Exercise, a regional mock emergency drill.

Closer to home, a pair of US Army Resererve Chinook CH-47 helicopters on Wednesday will depart Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Lewis, bound for Orcas and San Juan islands and with a stockpile of relief supplies onboard.

The exercise, coordinated by the local Department of Emergency Management, is designed to test the islands' ability to receive and distribute critical supplies, and to ensure that federal and state agencies are familiar with the geography and capabilities of the San Juans.

The exercise offers a unique opportunity to test and to practice the sort of logistical support that the islands' communities would need to rely on in the wake of a major earthquake, according to DEM Director Brendan Cowan. The Port of Orcas and staff at the Port of Friday Harbor Airport, as well as a host of local emergency response agencies and county Department of Public Works, along with the Orcas Island-based construction firm Terra Firma, which will provide a forklift for the drill, will be participating and providing support for the exercise, Cowan noted in a pre-drill press release.

For more info about the exercise, contact Brendan Cowan, director of San Juan County/Town of Friday Harbor Department of Emergency Management, 360-298-0455,


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