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Marines Trained to Assist in Disaster Scenarios

By Lea Sutton
|  Thursday, Nov 1, 2012  |  Updated 10:33 PM PDT
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NBC 7 San Diego military reporter Le Sutton explains how local Marines are ready to assist in the case of a major fire or earthquake here.

NBC 7 San Diego military reporter Le Sutton explains how local Marines are ready to assist in the case of a major fire or earthquake here.

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The military is becoming a major resource in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts by helping civilian authorities restore power and transportation. 

Large scale fires and earthquakes are the two natural disasters most likely to cause mass casualties in San Diego, and our local Marines say they're uniquely suited and trained to assist in both, according to San Diego emergency services.
               
The Marine Corps has long been involved in relief efforts around the world; like after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Just last month, Camp Pendleton Marines sharpened their skills in an earthquake scenario-based exercise with local authorities in San Francisco.

Deputy Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force, Major General Melvin Spiese views crisis response as part of his mission. He said the Marine Corps' is uniquely suited to assist.  

"We could move very quickly communications equipment and emergency medical support right into the heart of the disaster," said Spiese. "We can do that with aircraft without much difficulty."

But crisis response starts with local authorities; in San Diego, at the emergency operations center.

Officials say they have established relationships with military liaisons who would be there to coordinate, and in the critical first few days, base commanders have authority to respond to their requests. 

The coordination process does become more complicated once long term relief efforts begin.  And in those first few days after a natural disaster, local military installations would have to address their own problems first before being able to assist.

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