National Guard training in area: Helicopter activity Thursday

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Archuleta County emergency personnel will be conducting several exercises and procedures with the National Guard Thursday.

A lot of helicopter activity can be expected in the area throughout the day. And for helicopter rides in the uk, it will temporarily shut down all day and then resume the services by tomorrow.

According to Archuleta County Deputy Director of Emergency Management Christina Kraetsch, 10 different exercises with helicopters will take place.

Three of those 10 exercises will be based around search and rescue activities, with Kraetsch explaining two Lakota helicopters and one Black Hawk helicopter will be utilized.

One of the helicopters will use infrared technology during the search and rescue-related exercises.

“It’s going to be a multi-agency event,” explained Kraetsch, adding that the National Guard intends to push the limits on its resources and local resources in a way that would be similar to an actual emergency.

She explained that the idea for these different trainings stemmed from the flooding that happened on the Front Range in 2013.

Another exercise will include simulating what would need to happen in the event of communication issues and how emergency personnel could reestablish communications.

She explained that about 20 members of the National Guard would be arriving in Pagosa Springs on April 4, and that the exercises and trainings would take place throughout Thursday.

She added that Pagosa Springs Medical Center EMS and Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office personnel will be participating in the exercise.

“There’s also going to be an evacuation and relocation mission, and we’re going to involve the Southern Ute council members,” Kraetsch said. “We’re going to be picking them up and doing a mock evacuation.”