Groundhog's Day Drill To Begin

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Emergency personnel are preparing for the worst this week in what they're calling a "Groundhog's Day" exercise.

Everyone from The Salvation Army to high school students is jumping on-board to learn what to do in the case of earthquakes, which is a threat to our region.

The Bonneville County Courthouse will be the first place to evacuate on Tuesday. Volunteer county employees will leave the building while playing victims of a simulated earthquake.

The exercise was named after the classic Bill Murray comedy where the day keeps replaying.

Over the span of three days, emergency management will respond to a severe earthquake scenario -- starting with search and rescue on day one.

"it will be the same event the second day, only they're looking at mass care. It's the same event the third day. They're looking at evacuation," said School District Coordinator Guy Bliesner.

The drill is a regional effort involving areas in Teton, Bonneville, Madison, and Jefferson counties and originally started by the Bureau of Homeland Security.

Tom Lenderink with Bonneville County Emergency Management said public transportation system Targhee Regional Public Transportation (TRPTA) will take pretend earthquake victims to treatment locations.

"It should be a rather exciting adventure. We're looking forward to it,"said Lenderink.

Both old and young will participate in the test of skills. They plan on feeding about 2,500 students and faculty from Hillcrest High School and Sand Creek Middle School on Wednesday.

"We're providing basically mouths and stomachs for this one. The hardest thing will be keeping the high school kids from taking off to Chic-Fil-A," said Bliesner.

Police and sheriff's officers are unfortunately pulling out of the drill for the funeral of the late Dep.Mark Weaver. He died in a boating accident last week.

Gregg Losinski with Idaho Fish and Game said this week's Groundhog's Day drill will hopefully get all emergency agencies on the same page if a big disaster does strike.

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