For three hours Saturday morning, those who listened to their police scanners thought they had tapped into a major, local disaster. A 7.1 earthquake had hit near Mammoth Lakes earlier. It was all a disaster drill. Not for real, but lots of folks responded as if it were the real thing.
Mono County Sheriff’s personnel were on ready. Health Department staff from Mono and Inyo gathered for an emergency shelter and other needs. Another 7 magnitude quake hit and big aftershocks, so the scenario went. Town of Mammoth officials set up an Emergency Operations Center in Suite Z.
Fire, police, and medical staff reacted as if the quake had rattled Mammoth. The disaster exercise also included a make-believe school bus accident, two hazmet spills and structural damage and evacuation of Mammoth Hospital. There were pretend highway closures and more.
KSRW’s Cleland Hoff covered the drill as she would in a real disaster. We made phone calls as we would to keep the public informed.
Officials were expected to conduct some type of debriefing to find any weak points in emergency response.
Inyo County plans some type of disaster drill on Wednesday.
Tune in to TV33’s Local News tonight for video of the Mammoth exercise.