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Minnesota National Guard
State Prepares for Next Disaster with Vigilant Guard

Minnesota Military Radio Whether it's a devastating flood in Duluth or along the Red River Valley, a wildfire threatening Ely, a tornado outbreak bearing down on Minneapolis or the threat of a man-made disaster at the Mall of America, agencies and organizations from across the state are preparing their teams to respond as one

"We focus on all hazards," said Minnesota Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Joe Kelly on a recent episode of Minnesota Military Radio "What we've learned though is that, when it comes to preparedness, it's not necessarily the specific hazard It is the planning and the training together and the relationships"

"Nobody had a scenario in an exercise that ever had the 35W bridge collapsing and dropping into the Mississippi River," Kelly continued "But, because we had trained on other types of disaster scenarios, particularly the local [governments], Minneapolis, St Paul, Hennepin and Ramsey County and their supporting, surrounding communities, they were ready for that And that shows the real value of training together and focusing in an all-hazards way"

To that end, the state is now preparing for what may become the largest emergency preparedness exercise in the state's recent history, known as Vigilant Guard 2015 Spanning from Duluth to Camp Ripley down to Saint Paul, the exercise will involve city, county and tribal governments

"On the front side of this is also an exercise called Vital Connections," added the Minnesota National Guard's Director of the Joint Staff, Army Brig Gen Jon Jenson "Vital Connections is going to be an exercise that allows us to do in assessment of the communication systems, because those multiple systems are our ability to talk to each other during the time of emergency It's the first time that we've done one in Minnesota, we're really looking forward to it"

To listen to the full interview on Minnesota Military Radio, visit http://MinnesotaMilitaryRadioHourcom/20150308/

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