To the St. Maries Fire Protection District (SMFPD), its better to be prepared for the worst.

This summer the SMFPD plans to join other entities in the Panhandle in a drill that will better prepare them for if and when a disaster affects the western U.S.

Chief Lance Homann said the drill will take place over two days and will be similar to a drill that was conducted in 2016 called “Cascadia Rising.”

The previous drill simulated what would happen if a major earthquake hit the northwest in regions like Seattle or Portland. Chief Homann said the drills address what would happen if a large influx of displaced people came to the region or if supply chains were disrupted.

He said the drill will be broken up into two six hour sessions June 7 and 8. The first day will consist of tabletop discussions and planning followed by a day of communications work.

“On the second day we’ll have a drill based on similar scenarios working our communications,” Chief Homann said. “The northern counties wanted to include ham radio operators and see how well we are able to communicate between organizations.”

Two weeks after the drill, the groups involved will reconvene by having an after action review.

So far the SMFPD district confirmed the Idaho Department of Lands will join in on the drill as well as other fire districts in northern Idaho.

He said the group hopes to recruit more entities to be involved in the drill such as county and city representatives and law enforcement.

For more information on the drill contact the SMFPD at 208-245-5253.

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