Responders hone parachuting, other skills at doomsday drill

The parachutes slowly float down from Chinook helicopters, first carrying boxes of supplies, and later, paratroopers who use those supplies to set up a field operations center as part of a readiness drill for a megaquake and tsunami.

Thursday’s exercise was part of a four-day event that ends Friday, called Cascadia Rising, built around the premise of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake 95 miles off of the coast of Oregon that results in a tsunami. Both events would likely destroy buildings, roads and buildings and disrupt communications.

As part of the drill, the airfield and adjoining Mason County Fairgrounds has been converted into a staging area with hundreds of members of the National Guard, a tactical operations center where officials communicate directly with officials at Camp Murray, a trauma center and various equipment, including decontamination trucks.

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