FIRST MESA, Ariz. - The Hopi Emergency Response Team (HERT) will not be participating in a statewide Arizona National Guard emergency exercise taking place now through Sunday, Nov. 6, due to a recent emergency on the Hopi Reservation.
An Executive Order of Emergency was put into place by Hopi Tribal Chairman LeRoy N. Shingoitewa late last week after the First Mesa Water Pump became inoperable. It has since been repaired.
"Unfortunately the Hopi Emergency Response Team is tending to other matters relating to the recent water emergency which affected the villages of Walpi, Polacca, Sitsomovi and Tewa," said Shingoitewa. "We encourage all other Arizona agencies to participate and while HERT will be on-site at our local villages, other agencies on or near Hopi may be participating."
The Arizona National Guard is calling the exercise the "2011 Statewide Vigilant Guard," which will include a simulated flood and simulated detonation of an improvised nuclear device. These scenarios are meant to test plans in place for mass fatalities and evacuation, as well as medical response and other emergency operations.
"Hopi Health Care Center will remain open, operating as normal for appointments and emergency care, but we will also be setting up contamination control perimeters in support of the multi-state exercise," said Vaughn Sieweumptewa, safety officer at Indian Health Service (IHS). "It is very important in this time of need that local residents are being treated given the current state of emergency, but we do intend to participate in this exercise to the utmost of our abilities."
For more information on the Hopi Tribe, visit www.hopi-nsn.gov