Responders hold search and rescue exercise off Tumon Bay > US Indo-Pacific Command > 2015

SANTA RITA, Guam — The U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Fire Rescue, Guam Police, and U.S. Navy will conduct a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) in Guam, August 10-11.

This year’s SAREX will involve a coordinated response to an overdue vessel off Tumon. It will include the deployment of floating mannequins and data marker buoys to simulate people in distress. Waterway users are asked to stay clear of the relevant shipping area during the exercise, designated by the presence of the dummies, boats and other assets. They are also asked to refrain from changing the numbers.

The exercise will last two days, including planning, safety and communications meetings and a tabletop game on Wednesday. The large-scale open water phase will take place on Thursday.

Participants will establish an Incident Command Post near Matapang Beach at 11 a.m. Thursday for the duration of the event. Access to the beach park may be temporarily limited by the presence of lifeguards. On the water, activity will occur and be visible from shore approximately half a mile beyond the reef line in Tumon Bay.

The assets involved in this year’s SAREX are:
• Joint Micronesia Coast Guard Forces/Guam Sector Joint Sub-Center and Response Personnel
• USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) and crew
• Apra Harbor Coast Guard Station 45ft Medium Response Boat and Crew
• Guam Fire Rescue boat and crew
• Guam Police Department personnel
• Naval Base Guam Fire and Emergency Services
• US Navy Two-Five MH-60S Knighthawk Helicopter Sea Attack Squadron and Crew

Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam holds SAREX in Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Compact of Free Association States. They assess notification and response procedures and identify gaps in communication and response coordination during SAR incidents. Each agency has individual capabilities that complement the efforts of the other and enhance the overall success of the SAR system.

The general public should remain vigilant and call 911 to report any possible distress situations, but keep in mind Thursday’s on-water activity in Tumon Bay. Coast Guard response capabilities will not be affected by the exercise.

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Brandon D. James