Agencies from both sides involved, but little may be publicly visible

SUMAS ­— Residents and visitors near the Sumas/Huntingdon Port of Entry will see emergency responders, equipment and simulated response activity there on Wednesday, Oct. 16, from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office has been planning this Hazardous Materials Emergency Drill for over a year. The exercise represents another step forward in building relationships and understanding procedures between United States and Canadian responders.

Involving more than 50 agencies and 200 participants at nearly 20 locations on both sides of the border, the drill is intended to ensure that a hazardous materials event that affects both countries is responded to in a way that integrates their capabilities and use of emergency operation plans, standard operating procedures and an incident command system.

Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said his office was involved in the exercise “to build on the cross-border efforts” that have been strong in the past. It will encompass law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services response and emergency management on both sides of the border.

City of Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said, “This drill is a way for our personnel at the City of Abbotsford and Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services to continue to sharpen our emergency preparedness apparatus and public safety capacity.”

Most of the activity during the drill will not be visible to the public, with the exception of emergency response equipment and some light smoke during the morning. There will be no interruptions of traffic flow across the border.