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N.C. Air National Guard and Central Branch Emergency Management Exercise Tornado Strike

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, Installation Emergency Manager for the145th Airlift Wing guides EM contractor Mark Fow as he drives the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) onto the flight-line of local airport in Greensboro, N.C., April 8, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period, testing communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications such as video-teleconferencing, satellite internet, a weather station, a long range on-scene camera and various radio systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, Installation Emergency Manager for the145th Airlift Wing guides EM contractor Mark Fow as he drives the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) onto the flight-line of local airport in Greensboro, N.C., April 8, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period, testing communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications such as video-teleconferencing, satellite internet, a weather station, a long range on-scene camera and various radio systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

Mark Fow, Emergency Management contractor for the 145th Airlift Wing adjusts an antenna on the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC). NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies, April 9, 2015, in Greensboro, N.C., to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications. The MEOC responds to natural disasters, major accidents, incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and many other events. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

Mark Fow, Emergency Management contractor for the 145th Airlift Wing adjusts an antenna on the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC). NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies, April 9, 2015, in Greensboro, N.C., to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications. The MEOC responds to natural disasters, major accidents, incidents involving weapons of mass destruction and many other events. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, Installation Emergency Manager for the 145th Airlift Wing, briefs more than twenty North Carolina Emergency Management agencies in Greensboro, N.C., following a large-scale communications exercise held April 9-10, 2015. NCANG worked with NCEM to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The NCANG provided a Mobile Emergency Operations Center to the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, Installation Emergency Manager for the 145th Airlift Wing, briefs more than twenty North Carolina Emergency Management agencies in Greensboro, N.C., following a large-scale communications exercise held April 9-10, 2015. NCANG worked with NCEM to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The NCANG provided a Mobile Emergency Operations Center to the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Bradley Henry, radio frequency system operator for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Mark Fow, a contractor with the 145th Airlift Wing Emergency Management, test and administer a video teleconference in the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) during a N.C. Command and Communications Rally held in Greensboro, N.C., April 10, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications such as video-teleconferencing, satellite internet, a weather station, a long range on-scene camera and various radio systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Bradley Henry, radio frequency system operator for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and Mark Fow, a contractor with the 145th Airlift Wing Emergency Management, test and administer a video teleconference in the North Carolina Air National Guard, Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) during a N.C. Command and Communications Rally held in Greensboro, N.C., April 10, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications such as video-teleconferencing, satellite internet, a weather station, a long range on-scene camera and various radio systems. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

Airman First Class Bradley Henry, radio frequency system operator for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron listens as Roman Kaluta, Customer Advocate for Raytheon Communications provides information on interoperability radio equipment during a North Carolina Emergency Response Rally held in Greensboro, N.C., April 10, 2015. The North Carolina Air National Guard supplied the Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) during the exercise. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications including the Raytheon ACU-200 which allows communication between radios, telephones and other devices. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

Airman First Class Bradley Henry, radio frequency system operator for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron listens as Roman Kaluta, Customer Advocate for Raytheon Communications provides information on interoperability radio equipment during a North Carolina Emergency Response Rally held in Greensboro, N.C., April 10, 2015. The North Carolina Air National Guard supplied the Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) during the exercise. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies over a two-day period to test communications during a natural disaster exercise and to showcase each agency’s capabilities. The MEOC provides the community’s incident commanders with emergency response support and interoperable communications including the Raytheon ACU-200 which allows communication between radios, telephones and other devices. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Timothy Jones, Superintendent of Operations for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, meets with Robert Nicholson, Jones civilian counterpart with the Transportation Security Administration, during a North Carolina Command and Communications rally held in Greensboro, N.C. April 10, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies and provided a Mobile Emergency Operations Center to test communications during a natural disaster exercise. The Rally allowed for North Carolina Emergency Management agencies to connect, and understand the assets available for any state or possibly national incidents and disasters that may occur. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Timothy Jones, Superintendent of Operations for the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, meets with Robert Nicholson, Jones civilian counterpart with the Transportation Security Administration, during a North Carolina Command and Communications rally held in Greensboro, N.C. April 10, 2015. NCANG partnered with more than twenty Emergency Management agencies and provided a Mobile Emergency Operations Center to test communications during a natural disaster exercise. The Rally allowed for North Carolina Emergency Management agencies to connect, and understand the assets available for any state or possibly national incidents and disasters that may occur. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Laura Montgomery, 145th Public Affairs/Released)

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Exercise Tornado Strike 2015 brought members of the North Carolina Air National Guard, with a Mobile Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) and North Carolina Emergency Management members together at a local airport in Greensboro, N.C.

Spring has sprung in the Carolinas and with the typical wide swings in temperature, also comes the severe weather. In order to make sure first responders are ready, the North Carolina Central Branch Emergency Management held an exercise simulating a tornado touching down.

The objective of the exercise included testing the communications and interoperability of federal, state, county, volunteer and private organizations within central North Carolina. Members of the North Carolina Air National Guard exercised the effectiveness of a Mobile Emergency Operation Center along with Guilford County and State Emergency officials in a tornado scenario.

NCANG is one of twenty-two units that sustain a MEOC. The $750,000 center is capable of deploying within two and a half hours' notice and is operation-ready within thirty minutes of arrival. An 80-gallon tank can provide enough fuel for the MEOC to run for three to five days. The communication capabilities include video conferencing, satellite and internet feed, a Voice Over IP phone system, tactical radios, smart boards and the list continues.

"Our role is to do the best we can by safely bringing the MEOC and manpower to support the needs of Emergency Response agencies," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rebecca Tongen, Emergency Management Installation Manager for the 145th Airlift Wing.

"When we roll in and someone recognizes the vehicle and knows the capabilities, it makes me proud to know that someone is aware of the MEOC and what it can accomplish," said Tongen.

Over twenty state and local agencies in and around Guilford County participated in the exercise culminating in a positive review from Jeff Childs, Coordinator for North Carolina Statewide Interoperability.

"This is the third exercise of this kind for North Carolina in the last ten months, and they are getting increasingly better as we continue to train and learn," said Childs.

Following the exercise, the agencies held a Command and Communications Rally where members were allowed to walk through the differing response vehicles and gain an understanding of what each agency was capable of bringing. Seminars were also available to instruct agencies on the equipment used during these exercises and in real world situations.

For the Air National Guard Emergency Managers, the MEOC is one more tool that allows them to perform in their multi-functional roles supporting base emergency management and state and national domestic operations, including responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive hazards.