Cracked hunks of concrete are all that remain of a six-story hotel after a catastrophic magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead. Nearby, a three-story garage has collapsed into itself and is littered with cars so badly damaged that the make and model of one is virtually unrecognizable.
Eight members of Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Search and Rescue Team are hard at work breaching the concrete of the hotel’s facade to crawl inside and locate any survivors trapped below.
Luckily the disaster scene is not real, at least not today, but rather an elaborate simulation of the chaotic aftermath of devastating earthquakes in California and Nevada and the rapid-fire reaction of emergency responders in both states.
The simultaneous weeklong exercise, ending Friday and called Vigilant Guard, was hosted in California by the California National Guard with participation from more than 1,200 members of local, state and federal agencies, including Los Angeles County fire officials, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Oakland Fire Department’s Urban Search & Rescue Task Force, plus members of Arizona’s, Hawaii’s and Nevada’s National Guards.
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