Port conducts 'dirty bomb' drill this morning

The Port of Tacoma this morning conducted an emergency drill at the former Kaiser Aluminum site to test a response to the detonation of a so-called “dirty bomb.”

This drill tested portions of the Port’s Security Facility Plan in conjunction with other first responders. A scenario was developed that focused on the discovery of a radiologicial dispersal device – more commonly referred to as a “dirty bomb” – and initial response actions.

Participating agencies included the Port of Tacoma Security Department, American Medical Response, Graham Fire Rescue, Pierce County Fire District 21, Fife Police Department, American Red Cross, Law Enforcement Support Administration (LESA) Communications, Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, McChord AFB Fire Rescue, City of Puyallup Fire Department and Pierce County Fire Communications.

The Port and first-responders in Pierce County tested the following:

– Communication and notification systems between agencies;

– Response times for identification of a potential radiological dispersal device (“dirty bomb”);

– Initial deployment operations in establishment of security perimeters;

– Evacuation procedures;

– Unified incident command for an event of this type; and

– Facility Security Plan for Port.

This exercise featured very little “theatrics” and role-playing, as in larger, previous exercises. This exercise focused on event procedures, inter-agency communications and responsibilities.