AUBURN — Local, state and federal agencies, as well as private businesses, will participate in a simulated disaster Wednesday morning at the Auburn-Lewiston Intermodal Transportation Center at the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport.

In a release from the City of Auburn, an exercise slated to begin at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday is designed to test the readiness of disaster responders.

The nature of the disaster has not been made clear to participants — who will have to anticipate anything from an explosion to a train derailment with leaked chemicals — “without second thought,” according to the release.

The release said the exercise will test responders’ abilities to size up a situation, work together and avert environmental and community dangers while communicating across various agencies.

“We’ve been working on this exercise for more than two years,” said Ray Lussier, Auburn’s City Safety Coordinator and the driving force behind the disaster drill.

“We wanted to know how local first responders would handle a large-scale disaster that would require assistance from Maine responders, like the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and federal responders, like the Department of Homeland Security. How would we talk to each other? Who would be in charge?”

“When the Lac-Megantic disaster happened,” Lussier said, “we knew we were on the right track to identifying solutions before a potential problem occurred.”

The drill will begin with a simple 911 call, and none of the responders will know of the unfolding events. Observers will be on hand to monitor the exercise and provide a debriefing Wednesday afternoon.


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