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CAMP DENALI, Alaska The State Emergency Coordination Center, located at Camp Denali on Fort Richardson, is still on a 24-hour schedule today (Thursday). The SECC was activated early Tuesday morning in response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"What an SECC activation means," explains Division of Emergency Services spokesman Mike Haller, "is that were bringing together representatives of various state, federal and local agencies in this one place. That makes it easier to coordinate any response that may be needed. One of our key priorities is to keep the Governor informed of what is happening, the impact, and to provide him with recommendations."
Haller says the SECC includes representatives of several agencies, including the Division of Emergency Services and the National Guard. "We also have the Alaska State Troopers, the FBI and the Department of Environmental Conservation, to name a few. We've been in touch with and coordinated with all virtually every department in State government. Alaska's reaction to this emergency has been very typical - generous with resources, effort, and understanding."
The State Emergency Coordination Center is staffed with about 30 people during the day and 10-15 during the night shift. "We're activated to monitor was is going on with the national emergency and to look at local impact," says Haller.
Of special concern to Alaska was the FAAs decision to ground all flights. "This is a state that relies on aviation. If this ban had lasted," says Haller, "we may have had some locations in trouble." He says that although food supplies arent a concern at this time, there are others. "Some people are expecting prescription medicines. Others have paychecks coming. Theses are things that people need."
Search and Rescue missions were allowed to fly, even during the FAA ban. "Both the Army Guard and the Air Guard flew search missions Tuesday night. Both, fortunately, turned out to be false alarms, but the Guard was able to fly nonetheless." Haller adds the Alaska Air Guard also flew a shipment of blood samples to the Seattle area.
Alaska Government Website