PLEASANTON, Calif. - The controversial Urban Shield training exercise for police and first responders continues Friday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, but the focus of the program has shifted to emergency response training and mass care, and less about less about terrorism and weapons vendors.
On Thursday, the program taught participants about surviving the aftermath of a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in the Bay Area.
For this scenario volunteers from social service agencies, the Red Cross, and public health staffed the mock shelter. One room was set up for a general shelter and the other use to accommodate people with special medical needs.
Experts say ideally it's best to have shelters inside a school. And California law mandates that to happen because what the facility can offer. Although this drill was designed for an earthquake, experts say it can apply to other natural disasters such as wildfires.
“It’s applicable to almost any disaster if you really think about it that way,” said Alex Schubeck of Fremont emergency services. “Some of the issues you may encounter may be different.”
Added Tya Modeste of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office: “Giving all the fire devastation that we've had in California, mass care and shelter is at the forefront of urban shield.”
Urban Shield was was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This is the last year that Urban Shield will be held here. Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to end the program after 2018 after years of community opposition that called it militaristic, xenophobic, and racist.
The organization Stop Urban Shield will hold a rally Friday to mark its end in Alameda County.