This morning several local Long Beach agencies and organizations participated in a joint operation between the Aquarium of the Pacific (AOP), U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach, and the Long Beach Police and Fire Departments. The purpose of the operation was to test the readiness of the various agencies to respond to an incident near or around the Rainbow Harbor area of Long Beach and to communicate using the Incident Command System which is a nationally adopted system for managing incidents.
The incident scenario provided for a simulated explosion and fire aboard a pleasure yacht near the Queen Mary area of Long Beach Harbor. The scenario also called for 13 simulated victims whose injuries ranged from moderate to at least one fatality. All of the victims were recovered and evacuated on to Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessels, that were on simulated safety patrols, and then transported to waiting ground transportation to St. Mary Medical Center.
According to Coast Guard Auxiliarist Everett Harper "what made this exercise so valuable as a training tool was the degree of reality injected into the simulation, we (rescuers on the water) had no idea what to expect."
The Coast Guard Auxiliary routinely conducts safety patrols on coastal waters, rivers and lakes throughout the United States and it territories. All members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary are required to complete incident command system training.