Local, state, federal response groups attend disaster training in Lorton

Rescue crews responded to a "fake" disaster to train for the worst in Lorton today. Volunteers were "victims" of a ficticious explosion. (Photo: Gail Pennybacker)

More than 70 federal and non-federal agencies will participate in an annual training exercise for urban search and rescue responses today and Wednesday in Lorton, Va.

The training exercise, called Exercise Capital Shield 12, is designed to test and evaluate joint operations, techniques, procedures and command and control relationships among the Department of Defense and interagency partners, according to a news release.

The goal of the exercise is to make sure that government agencies are prepared to take action to protect the public in the event of an actual emergency--natural or man-made--impacting District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland.

The scenario will include response actions to mass casualty incidents and collapsed structures that require urban search and rescue and mass casualty evacuations, the news release said.

Agencies will perform mock rescues, triage, treat, and transport victims by helicopter and ambulance to area hospitals.

Among the participants are Fairfax County Fire Department, Arlington County Fire Department, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Support and over a dozen hospitals throughout the National Capital Region, the release said.