Coast Guard Training Center Cape May will be the site a full-scale antiterrorism exercise Tuesday, the first of its kind at a training center.
Nearby residents can expect to hear an explosion shortly after 9:30 a.m., followed by screams, sirens and speaker announcements from inside the base, said Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.
More than 200 people will be involved in the event, including military, local, state and federal law enforcement officers. EMS and firefighters from the county and local departments will also respond. Those involved will include victims with simulated injuries and first responders.
“We want to see how well we can respond and ensure crime scene integrity,” Brzuska said Saturday. “This is not just about the Coast Guard, but the community’s ability to respond to a terrorist attack anywhere in the county.”
Tuesday’s exercise, which simulates a suicide attack with an explosive device, follows a similar one in 2012 involving an active shooter at the base. Brzuska said this one has been planned since 2013, but was delayed due to sequestration.
“Now that we have the funding, we’re ready to move forward with the exercise itself,” he said. The cost of the exercise was not immediately available Saturday.
Brzuska said responders will not use lights and sirens through the city of Cape May, but will turn them on starting at Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the base.
“The Coast Guard base is unique because 41,000 visitors come to the base each year and an average of 3,000 recruits are trained each year,” he said. “We’re making sure we can respond if something does happen.”