Pangaea's Joint Incident Command System (JICS) deployed at Vigilant Guard Exercise 2010

Multiple areas of Chicago will be used for a five-day training exercise, some road closures

SPRINGFIELD- More than 50 local, state, federal and private agencies will take part in a major week-long domestic emergency response exercise testing their ability to respond to multiple disasters in the Chicago area.

Illinois Prairie North 2010, which is a part of the Vigilant Guard series, will run from Sunday, June 13, to Thursday, June 17. This joint training exercise is designed to test civilian and military responses and coordination should multiple incidents occur throughout Illinois. It is a full-scale exercise, so residents can expect to see emergency responders looking and acting as if this was a real homeland security/domestic response mission.

This realistic training exercise is necessary to ensure that Illinois is prepared to protect the public from, and mitigate the consequences of, an act of terrorism or other major disaster. All the different agencies are expected to learn valuable lessons on how to best work together if or when a real disaster should befall the area.

This is what we call ‘training as we fight,’” said Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. “In a real disaster, all of these agencies would play an important role. We owe it to the people of Illinois to learn to work together to respond in the most effective and efficient way possible.”

Illinois National Guard members from throughout the state helped plan the exercise along with their domestic emergency response partners. Three “table-top” exercises were conducted prior to the full-scale exercise.

On Sunday, June 13, the exercise will begin with a simulated commercial airplane crash on its way to Midway Airport. The simulated plane crash will occur in the downtown area of Oak Lawn. There will be multiple local agencies responding to the simulated crash, with debris and mass casualties scattered throughout the area.

Toyota Park in Bridgeview will be the staging area for the Illinois Army and Air National Guard, where they will have their accommodations and park their vehicles starting Monday, June 14. The Salvation Army in Elk Grove Village will be the area command center for the exercise. The area command is where all command-related activities will occur. The Office of Emergency Management of Chicago (OEMC) will be practicing setting up a remote command center at Soldier Field to manage the resources needed to respond to the large-scale event within the Chicago area.

On Tuesday, June 15, there will be a simulated meth lab takedown on Green and York Streets in Bensenville. The Illinois National Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, High-Yield Explosives (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) and the 5th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST) will be responding to the call along with multiple local agencies. There will be a suspected dispersion device with traces to a meth lab in the area.

Wednesday, June 16, will involve multiple locations. The Bensenville area will be restricted to only those with approved credentials. Within the area, there will be numerous simulated terrorist attacks to include tactical takedowns of suspected terrorists by the Illinois’ Tactical Response Team, simulated building collapses with trapped victims, high angle and structural collapse rescue, mass decontamination and medical care by the Illinois National Guard CERFP and 5th CST. Another location will be at Rush University Medical Center. Rush medical staff and the Illinois National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will receive suspected biological agent patients to decontaminate and medically evaluate.

There will also be a press conference at Rush University Medical Center regarding Homeland Security response at 1 p.m., June 16.

On Wednesday evening the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) will have a rail car evacuation swat incident on 15th and Clark Streets in Chicago. Multiple local agencies will be involved in this scenario. Chicago Police Department will be on heightened security as a K-9 unit detects simulated explosives manufactured by a terrorist group on a CTA train. A simulated explosion will cause possible contamination requiring police, search and rescue teams, hazardous materials teams and fire response. This is expected to happen from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 4 a.m. Thursday. There will be some road closing during this timeframe.

On Thursday, June 17, there are two situations planned. There will be another takedown situation in the Bensenville area and also a simulated chemical explosion at Nalco in Chicago. Multiple local agencies will be responding to the Bensenville area and the Illinois National Guard’s CERFP and 5th CST will be responding to the Nalco explosion.

Be aware of road closures and detours during these exercise events.

Local, state, federal, private and international agencies involved in the exercise include:

  • Illinois National Guard

  • U.S Department of Homeland Security

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region V Federal Bureau of Investigation National Guard Bureau

    • Joint Interagency Training and Education Center

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency

  • Illinois State Police

  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Bio Watch Jurisdictional Coordinator - Chicago

  • Statewide Terrorism & Intelligence Center

  • State Weapons of Mass Destruction Team

  • State of Illinois Terrorism Taskforce (ITTF)

  • Michigan National Guard Civil Support Team

  • Illinois Emergency Services Management Association Illinois Emergency Medical Response Teams

  • Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS)

  • Mutual Aid Box Aid System (MABAS)

  • State of Illinois Incident Management Teams Illinois Fire Services Institute MCHC/Illinois HELPS

  • American Red Cross

  • Salvation Army

  • City of Chicago:

    • Office of Emergency Management and Communication

    • Chicago Department of Aviation

    • Chicago Police Department

    • Chicago Bomb and Arson Investigation Unit

    • Chicago Fire Department / Hazmat

    • Chicago Transit Authority

  • Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Cook County Medical Examiner

  • Du Page County Emergency Management

  • City of Oak Lawn:

    • Oak Lawn Emergency Management Agency

    • Oak Lawn Police Department

    • Oak Lawn Dispatch Center

    • Oak Lawn Fire

    • Oak Lawn Public Works

  • Evergreen Park Fire Department

  • North Palos Fire Department

  • Chicago Ridge Fire Department

  • Hometown Fire Department

  • Bridgeview Fire Department

  • Burbank Fire Department

  • Park Fire Department

  • Bedford Park Fire Department

  • Region VII, Regional Health Care Coordination Center, Advocate Christ

  • Christ Advocate Medical Center

  • Rush University Medical Center

  • Advocate South Suburban Hospital

  • Ingalls, Silver Cross

  • Morris Hospital - St James

  • Palos Community Hospital

  • Provena St. Joes

  • Advocate Christ

  • Provena St. Mary’s

  • Advocate South Suburban

  • Metro South, Morris

For questions regarding Operation Guard North, please contact the Public Affairs Office at or 217-761-3569. If after hours, please contact the Illinois National Guard Joint Operations Center at 217-761-3941.

1301 North MacArthur Boulevard
Springfield, Illinois 62702-2399

NEWS RELEASE # 060810-109
TEL: (217) 761-3569
DATE: June 8, 2010
FAX: (217) 761-3527
CONTACT: Public Affairs Office