FARMINGTON — Local law enforcement and emergency response groups will hold an emergency response drill in San Juan County on Saturday morning.
The drill is an annual exercise coordinated by the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management and hosted by a local energy company. The purpose of the drill is to train all county first-responders on what to do if there is a large-scale, coordinated terrorist attack on local industry, said Don Cooper, the county's emergency manager.
About 290 people are scheduled to take part in the drill, which will last from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Exercises will take place at San Juan College, a Kinder Morgan facility on County Road 4900, San Juan Regional Medical Center and the San Juan County Fire Operations Center on Oliver Drive in Aztec. Personnel will stage at Heights Middle School and Bloomfield High School prior to the drill.
Cooper said people can expect to see and hear emergency response sirens and see emergency responders in full gear.
A news release from the Office of Emergency Management asks the public to be cautious when driving through areas where the exercises are taking place.
"The object of the simulated emergency response drill is to make it as realistic as possible in order to provide emergency personnel, Kinder Morgan employees and San Juan College personnel the best training experience possible," according to the release.
This year's scenario focuses on an imaginary group of people in a San Juan College program, which leads to jobs on a Kinder Morgan project. In the scenario, the people are expelled from the program after getting caught with methamphetamines and arrested, Cooper said.
"They are upset with the college, and they are upset with industry," Cooper said. "They go bananas."
Two of the people attack San Juan College, shooting students at two locations on campus and leaving behind 50 victims. While the shooting is happening, two people from the group also bomb the Kinder Morgan facility.
"I'm not worried about al-Qaida coming over here and screwing with us," Cooper said. "I'm worried about domestic terrorism."
Law enforcement will use critical incident management skills to control both emergencies. Firefighters and paramedics will work on emergency triage at the scene, and hospital staff will practice being inundated with 50 patients at once.
Kinger Morgan West Regional Natural Gas Pipelines is the host of the emergency response drill this year, which means the business provided $10,000 and a location for the drill. Cooper said the county will spend between $30,000 to $40,000 of federal funds from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to put on the drill. Some of that money will go to paying police officers, deputies and firefighters overtime to participate in the drill.
"Kinder Morgan is proud to be the 2013 Local Emergency Planning Committee Sponsor and participate in this vital drill to ensure all local agencies are adequately prepared for potential emergencies," said Doug Schminke, Kinder Morgan operations manager, in a news release.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.