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Mount Desert Island Fire Departments Collaborate with National Park Service to Host Mutual Aid Drill  

BAR HARBOR – Local agencies and Acadia National Park will host a mutual aid drill on Saturday June 2 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., weather dependent, at the south end of Echo Lake. Mutual aid drills serve to cross train staff from different agencies to improve effectiveness and efficiencies in large-scale events such as wildland fire.

“We hope this mutual aid drill will allow firefighters to collaborate across agencies and ultimately increase island wide emergency preparedness,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider.

The mutual aid drill revolves around a fictional scenario where a structural fire begins at the south end of Echo Lake in a park employee residence after an extended drought. No actual fire will be active during the entire drill. The fire continues to grow and move into the surrounding forest, toward park hiking trails, and a cluster of buildings at a summer camp. Firefighters will respond to Echo Lake and stabilize the fire. Firefighters will then need to respond to the Beech Hill Road area to assess and formulating a plan to deal with an expanding wildland fire incident. Drill participants will lay hose and implement structure protection plans. The goal of this drill is to allow three levels of training: 1) volunteers and on the ground firefighters will practice with wildland fire equipment such as portable pumps and forestry hose, 2) department officers and staff will practice structure triage in a wildland fire setting, and 3) fire chiefs work together in a fast paced expanding crisis that may call for unified command.

Although this is a fictional scenario, it is also a plausible scenario, and fire departments will have hands on practice to manage a low frequency/ high consequence event in a safe and controlled practice setting. This specific drill is a wildfire scenario and future mutual aid drills can be designed with different skill sets such as hazardous material incidents, ice storms, or hurricanes.

Local response agencies from the towns of Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont, Bar Harbor, Maine Forest Service and Acadia National Park are actively involved in this fictional scenario. Off-island resources such as Hancock County Regional County Coordinators and other emergency management agencies will also be involved. The mutual aid drill is expected to host 20-40 participants.

All public facilities such as Echo Lake Road, Echo Lake parking lot, Echo Lake restrooms, and Echo Lake beach will be open during the same time as the mutual aid drill. Those wishing to view the scenario from a safe distance are encouraged to locate themselves safely away from the actual event  Backup date in the event of rain or other contingencies is set as Sunday June 3.

To learn more about actions people can take now to protect their homes, visit

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA

For more information about Acadia National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/acad or call 207-288-3338. Join online conversations on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AcadiaNPS), Twitter (twitter.com/AcadiaNPS), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/acadianps).

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service:  More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice), Twitter (www.twitter.com/natlparkservice), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice).

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