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Grant, city support simulated disaster

At least six agencies on North Whidbey will have to work together on a full-scale exercise funded by a homeland security grant and the city of Oak Harbor’s general operating budget.

The Oak Harbor Police and Fire Departments, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, EOD Team from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Whidbey General Hospital Emergency Medical Services Division and the Island County Sheriff’s Office will be involved in the elaborate practice session.

“The exercise is designed to practice what we drill on throughout the year and to identify our strengths and weaknesses,” said Oak Harbor Fire Chief Mark Soptich. “This is an opportunity to perfect our ability to communicate effectively with multiple agencies to orchestrate a successfully outcome.”

The simulation will take place Monday, Sept. 28 at the intersection of SE Pioneer Way and SE Dock Street from 6 to 9 p.m. Detours will be in place to redirect traffic, he said.

This annual event involves resources from the fire departments and Whidbey General Hospital’s EMS division, said Soptich. Last year the Oak Harbor Police Department played a significant part an exercise, he said, and this year the Sheriff’s Office and EOD team will be included in the training. “ICOM,” the emergency dispatch call center, will also take part.

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