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What happens if Mount Baker erupts? Local emergency responders are prepared

Mount Baker, which is an active volcano, as seen from Hannegan Road on Dec. 31, 2015, near Lynden.
Mount Baker, which is an active volcano, as seen from Hannegan Road on Dec. 31, 2015, near Lynden. eabell@bhamherald.com

Emergency management officials and first responders in the U.S. and Canada will conduct a joint disaster response exercise in Whatcom County.

This year’s exercise will simulate a Mount Baker volcanic eruption, mudflow and crater collapse, according to a Department of Homeland Security news release.

The exercise will be on Wednesday and Thursday. The scenario was developed with help from the U.S. Geological Survey. The experiment is designed to test situational awareness and communications when it comes to planning for, responding and recovering from disasters.

It provides a realistic opportunity to test cross-border communications and interoperability between Canadian and American first responders and emergency management agencies, according to the news release.

Mount Baker is an active volcano visible from both sides of the border, and is closely monitored by USGS.

Volcano map
Staff The Bellingham Herald file

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and Canada Department of National Defence’s Centre for Security Science will be participating along with local first responders and emergency management agencies from Whatcom County, the City of Abbotsford, City of Langley and the Township of Langley. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency will also be participating.

Whatcom County residents may see emergency vehicles during the two-day exercise, particularly in the Sumas area.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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