Responders to hold search and rescue exercise off Tumon Bay
By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir
U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam
The U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Fire Rescue, Guam Police, and the U.S. Navy will conduct a search and rescue exercise (SAREX) in Guam, Aug. 10 – 11. This year’s SAREX will entail 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 requested to stay clear of the boating area involved during the exercise, designated by the presence of the mannequins, boats, and other assets. It is also requested they refrain from disturbing the figures. The exercise will last two days, including planning, safety, and communication meetings and a Wednesday tabletop portion. The full-scale open-water phase will occur 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 responders. On the water, activity will occur and be visible from shore about a half mile beyond the reef line in Tumon Bay. Assets involved in this year’s SAREX are: • Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Joint Sub-Center Center and response personnel • USCGC Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) and crew • Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium and crew • Guam Fire Rescue boat and crew • Guam Police Department personnel • Naval Base Guam Fire and Emergency Services • U.S. Navy Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two-Five MH-60S Knighthawk and crew Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam holds SAREXs in Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and freely associated states. They evaluate notification and response procedures and identify shortfalls in communication and coordination of response during SAR incidents. Each agency holds individual capabilities that complement each other’s efforts and bolsters the overall success of the SAR system. The general public is advised to remain vigilant and call 911 to report any possible distress situations, but be mindful of the Thursday on-water activity in Tumon Bay. Coast Guard response capabilities will not be affected by the exercise. (USCG)