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Nov. 13, 2000

Jonas Diño

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Phone: 650/604-5612, 650/604-9000



Media representatives are invited to NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, on Wed. Nov. 15 to observe earthquake response exercises from 10 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. PST at the collapsed structure training facility, Bldg. N-267 — the primary training site for the center’s Disaster Assistance & Rescue Team. To get to Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101. Press credentials and photo ID are required. Foreign media representatives should provide advance notification. Allow time to obtain badges and maps at the Ames badging office by the main gate.


NASA disaster response and recovery personnel are set to host over 300 of their colleagues from federal, state and local emergency response agencies in an upcoming earthquake preparedness exercise.

The event, called MOBEX 2000, will be held Nov.14-16 at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. It will involve training and search and rescue exercises simulating emergency response to a major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault. The 3-day event is designed to strengthen coordination procedures among the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA’s) Urban Search and Rescue Teams, NASA's Disaster Assistance & Rescue Team (DART) and California's Urban Search and Rescue Team (Task Force-3).

There are three components to the exercise, including: specialized training in disaster management support; participation in functional drills as part of the FEMA incident support team; and the 3-day functional activity itself.

"The primary purpose of the exercise is to test FEMA’s rapid mobilization capabilities and NASA’s ability to support them," said Mike DiSanto, DART rescue squad leader. "This exercise will help us assess our ability to bring together personnel from several federal, state and local agencies to mobilize an organized response to a large-scale disaster," he added.

Three major collapsed structure exercises will be conducted on Nov. 15. "These exercises will allow the participating teams to practice critical rescue skills in a controlled environment that realistically simulates the types of conditions found in a real collapsed structure," said Robert Dolci, director of emergency services at NASA Ames. "California’s Urban Search and Rescue Team Task Force-3, based in Menlo Park, CA, which includes members of NASA’s DART will be transported to Fort Ord for the final element of the mobilization exercise on Nov. 17-18," he added.

Once the simulated "big one" strikes at 5:30 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 13, FEMA will activate 3 of its twenty-seven 62-member urban search and rescue teams from Los Angeles, Nevada and New Mexico and dispatch them to NASA Ames. The teams are expected to arrive at Moffett Federal airfield on Nov.14 aboard U.S. Air Force cargo planes. In advance of the USAR arrival, 60 members from incident support teams will assess "damage" and set up a command center. Incident support team members are responsible for task force operations, planning and logistics. FEMA and DART team members will serve as contact personnel and support.

In preparation for the activation and mobilization exercise, personnel from NASA Ames, FEMA, the California State Office of Emergency Services, and the Santa Clara and San Mateo County Offices of Emergency Services will participate in a "tabletop" exercise on Nov. 13. The tabletop exercise is designed to develop collaborative working relationships in preparation for an actual earthquake or other disaster.

For more information on the MOBEX 2000 exercise, visit the FEMA web page at:

Ames' DART was formed in 1986 with a mission to respond to community or national emergency situations or disasters. DART was deployed with Task Force-3 to Hurricane Iniki, the Northridge earthquake and the Oklahoma City bombing. DART also responded to the Loma Prieta earthquake and the San Francisco area floods of 1998. DART is one of the most qualified and best equipped emergency response teams in the U.S.

K-9 unit and disaster rescue equipment introduction and demonstrations begin at 10:00 am, Nov. 15, 2000.



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