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Lane County will hold a disaster preparedness drill Wednesday

The mass care exercise will be held Wednesday at the Lane Events Center in Eugene.
Rachael McDonald
The mass care exercise will be held Wednesday at the Lane Events Center in Eugene. File photo.

The Lane County Emergency Management and partners will be conducting a mass care exercise Wednesday. It’s all day at the Lane Events Center in Eugene.

The event is a test for local disaster responders in a scenario that involves a large evacuation due to a wildfire or other disaster.

“We're focused on how do we shelter—with our partners—large groups of people during a disaster that includes evacuations? So, we’re really excited to be doing this,” said Lane County Public Information Officer Devon Ashbridge. “And it’s the first exercise of its kind here in Lane County specifically focused on that mass care aspect.”

The event will include a number of community partners, including the Red Cross and the Oregon Department of Human Services. Ashbridge said if residents notice increased activity or emergency vehicles at Lane Events Center they shouldn't be alarmed.

“People may see some Red Cross trailers and some other activity at the Lane Events Center. So, it is just an exercise,” said Ashbridge. “We don’t want people to be alarmed by that. So, certainly, if you see that happening at the Lane Events Center on Wednesday. Please don’t call 9-1-1. It’s part of an exercise. Everything is okay.”

Exercise partners include Red Cross, Oregon Department of Human Services, Lane County Health & Human Services, Lane County Animal Services, Greenhill Humane Society, and Oregon Emergency Management. There are also many individual volunteers from a variety of agencies acting as evacuees during the exercise.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.