Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
TOPOFF2 News Conference #2
May 13, 2003
Good morning everyone. Welcome to Day Two of the TOPOFF2 Exercise.
For the last 21 hours, the state of Washington has been working with federal, county and local officials on the most comprehensive terrorism response drill ever conducted. We are at the halfway point. I am pleased with our effort to this point.
TOPOFF2 has met and exceeded all of our expectations.
I would like to highlight the outstanding coordination between key agencies in this exercise. These organizations hit the ground running yesterday. We’re addressing vital state functions including health, transportation and law enforcement. And we’re doing a good job of working across jurisdictions to ensure a cooperative effort.
Minutes after the bomb detonation, the State Department of Health had field teams on their way to the detonation area. Those teams immediately tested for radioactive contamination.
Within hours, this group confirmed the presence of cesium, americium and plutonium. This demonstrates how critically important the Department of Health is in the homeland security equation.
The state’s Department of Transportation has also done a superb job. Transportation is securing major transportation arteries and providing timely emergency information to the public. DOT immediately went to work after the explosion, establishing which portions of Interstate 5 were still safe to travel.
DOT also has been working closely with the Washington State Patrol. As of this morning, 250 troopers have been aiding with road closures and traffic redirection. State Patrol officers are also providing the Washington State Ferry system with security, helping to restore passenger-only service to a number of integral ferry routes around the city.
And at 6 a.m. this morning, 300 hundred members of the state’s National Guard began staging. They will be assisting Seattle Police at the blast location.
I want to emphasize the exceptional efforts by all of our first responders. These men and women are the first on the scene of an event. They assess the situation, and take the initial steps in rescue and recovery. This first response work often dictates the success or failure of an entire operation. I commend their work and contribution to our state’s welfare. They have done a great job in this exercise.
As we enter Day Two, we will continue to learn and become collectively better in our coordinated response.