Office of Emergency Management and Communications

Evacuation Plan Uncovered For Chicago Residents Should NATO Summit Get Out Of Control

One more post for local readers before I switch into “doomsday mode” for the next couple of days. It seems an evacuation plan is in place for Chicago residents should next month’s NATO summit require it. Mike Parker wrote on the website of CBS affiliate Channel 2 (Chicago) Wednesday night (hat tip Second City Cop blog):

Is there a secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble during the NATO summit next month? CBS 2 has uncovered some evidence that there is. It comes from the Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross.

CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of a Red Cross e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.

It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Parker, the Red Cross chapter spokesperson said the directive came from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service. The veteran reporter added that the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said the directive did not come from them, while the Secret Service did not return calls for comment.

Needless to say, a number of downtown Chicago residents are concerned.

With an event like a NATO summit, obviously anything can happen. Some point to this directive as proof the federal government knows the “Windy City” could be in for a lot of trouble. Others claim a “false flag” event is being set up. My biggest concern is not so much of civil disobedience transforming into civil strife, but rather the summit being the target of terrorism. In which case, I’m glad to hear some initiative is being taken in putting together an evacuation plan should it be necessary.

Source:

Parker, Mike. “Milwaukee Red Cross Told To Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit.” Channel 2 (Chicago). 25 Apr. 2012. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/25/milwaukee-red-cross-told-to-prep-for-chicago-evacuation-during-nato-summit/). 27 Apr. 2012.

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Update On Chicagoland Military Training Exercise

Some more insight into the U.S. military training exercise being conducted this week around the Chicagoland area. Editor Jean Lotus wrote on the Forest Park Review website yesterday afternoon:

Things got choppy in Forest Park last night between 8 and 9:30 p.m. as five helicopters from the U.S. Special Forces participated in training exercises that involved landing and taking off from the village-owned property behind the Altenheim…

Participating were Special Operations military personnel from multiple branches of the military, said a U.S. military spokesperson, who declined to give his name.

“We had some multiple tactical scenarios for upcoming mission deployments these units all have. We landed helicopters at the Altenheim,” he said…

The exercises were “not tied to the NATO visit in Chicago in any way,” he said. “These exercises have been planned since February, 2011.”

Lotus reported that the training was being coordinated by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, “which coordinates helicopter trainings around the country to ‘meet mandatory training certifications,’ according to the CEMC [City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications] website.”

I wonder if Forest Park first responders found themselves unexpectedly busy during the drill- seeing that the Altenheim is a senior citizen’s home. What a spectacle that must have been for the residents.

Source:

Lotus, Jean. “New use for the Altenheim: Special Ops training.” Forest Park Review. 19 Apr. 2012. (http://forestparkreview.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=38&ArticleID=6470). 20 Apr. 2012.

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Friday, April 20th, 2012 Civil Strife, Government, Military, Public Safety, Terrorism, Training, War Comments Off on Update On Chicagoland Military Training Exercise

Latest On Chicago Military Training Exercise

More information is surfacing about the “routine military training exercise” that’s taking place around the Chicagoland area from April 16 to 19. Last night, I blogged about a Chicago Tribune piece and City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) statement from Monday about the drill, which “is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.” The Tribune reporters wrote that the training is not related to the upcoming NATO Summit scheduled to be held in Chicago next month. From the FOX Channel 32 (Chicago) website this morning:

Blackhawks and A/MH-6 Little Bird helicopters used by special forces circling low through downtown Chicago skies made for a scary scene along the Chicago River, as they rattled windows flying among the city’s skyscrapers…

FOX Chicago News viewers called in, describing men with automatic weapons, hanging out of helicopters.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Monday announced that Chicago is the site of a military training exercise this week involving personnel and at least three helicopters.

But the bland press release from City Hall did nothing to prepare folks for the jarring scene that unfolded Monday evening.

“It was frightening,” Jessica Hill said. “I was definitely alarmed.”

At least three Blackhawk helicopters flying at time in close order formation – at other times separating fairly widely – zoomed around office and residential towers for several hours.

“I was pretty amazed,” Felise Llano said, “because they were definitely military.”

Witnesses described three to four very heavily armed men in each chopper. Several said some of the men appeared to be tethered and were at times literally hanging out of the choppers, and looked ready to jump.

No relation to Jessica, by the way.

As I mentioned last night, because this exercise has been held in other U.S. cities recently like Los Angeles and Boston, some suspect it’s training for martial law as the result of a potential SHTF event, like a U.S. economic collapse.

I suggested that it could be a counter-terrorism drill for a potential “American Mumbai” or dirty bomb terror attack (or other) on a major U.S. city.

Blackhawks Circle Low Through Chicago Skies as Secret Service Releases Security Details: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

FOX Channel 32 (Chicago) Video

Source:

“Blackhawks Circle Low Through Chicago Skies as Secret Service Releases Security Details.” FOX Channel 32 (Chicago). 17 Apr. 2012. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/military-blackhawks-circle-downtown-skies-honing-urban-battle-skills-chicago-20120416). 17 Apr. 2012.

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 Civil Strife, Emergencies, Government, Military, Preparedness, Public Safety, Terrorism, Training, War Comments Off on Latest On Chicago Military Training Exercise

Chicago Hosts Urban Warfare Training Exercise

Tonight I was reading a Chicago Tribune website article about security planning for the upcoming 2012 NATO Summit in the “Windy City” when I spotted the following in the last paragraph of the piece. Jeff Coen and David Heinzmann wrote tonight:

As attention on security intensifies, the city announced Monday that a “routine military training exercise” would be under way in and around Chicago from April 16 to 19 to help personnel preparing for overseas deployment learn to “operate in urban environments.” A city spokeswoman said the training is done around the country and is not related to the NATO meeting.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

The City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) released the following statement about the scheduled urban warfare training exercise today:

The City of Chicago is providing support for a routine military training exercise in and around the Chicagoland area on April 16 -19. This routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.

The training sites have been carefully selected to minimize the impact on the daily routine of residents.

The training is not open to the public.

If that wording about “this routine training is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments” sounds familiar to some readers, that’s because it’s already been used by municipal officials in Boston (July 2011) and Los Angeles (January 2012) before urban warfare training was conducted in their cities. I understand other U.S. cities have hosted similar drills.

Now, I’ve heard the U.S. military has been busy developing its urban warfare training program for some time already. Spencer Ackerman wrote in the Wired.com blog Danger Room back on January 18, 2011:

American soldiers spent seven years patrolling the urban neighborhoods of Iraq; its troops battled insurgents there block-by-block and house-by-house. Now that the Army is getting out of Iraq, it wants to make sure its urban combat skills don’t wither away. So it today it gave Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to $287 million to build Urban Operations Training Systems — essentially, giant simulation facilities and modules to help soldiers get ready for life in the big, bad city.

Versions of those training systems can be as simple as shipping containers tricked out to resemble multi-story houses and arranged in village formations, so soldiers can practice how to seize a building without causing needless damage. The Army’s got an entire 1000-acre facility in Indiana it uses to train soldiers in urban combat.

As for the Marines? From the CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles) website on January 25, 2011:

A 1,560-building mock city has risen in the Southern California desert.

The $170 million Marine Corps urban training center at the Twentynine Palms military base, some 130 miles northeast of Los Angeles, is roughly the size of San Diego.

The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center facility uses mock cities and role players to prepare Marines and sailors for urban terrain missions.

If our armed forces already have such resources, what’s with the urban warfare training in American cities then?

A cursory surf of the Internet reveals that some wonder if the drills aren’t training for a future declaration of martial law in case some SHTF event takes place, like a U.S. financial crash.

Disturbing.

I wonder if the exercise isn’t related to counter-terrorism.

Responding to an “American Mumbai” or dirty-bomb attack, perhaps?

In which case, I’m all for it.

The next couple of days should be interesting around here.

Sources:

Coen, Jeff and Heinzmann, David. “Chicago preparing for NATO summit.” Chicago Tribune. 16 Apr. 2012.
(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-nato-training-exercises-in-chicago-underway-20120416,0,1795383.story). 16 Apr. 2012.

OEMC News Affairs. “Statement from the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications Regarding Training in Chicago April 16 – 19.” OEMC. 16 Apr. 2012. (http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/oem/provdrs/emerg_mang/news/2012/apr/statement_from_thecityofchicagoofficeofemergencymanagementandcom.html) 16 Apr. 2012.

Ackerman, Spencer. “Lockheed Gets Big Bucks to Prep Soldiers for Urban War.” Danger Room. 18 Jan. 2011. (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/01/lockheed-gets-big-bucks-to-prep-soldiers-in-urban-war/). 16 Apr. 2012.

“$170M Mock City Built For Marine Training In Twentynine Palms” CBS Channel 2 (Los Angeles). 25 Jan. 2011. (http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/01/25/170m-mock-city-built-for-marine-training-in-twentynine-palms/). 16 Apr. 2012.

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Chicago 911 Call Takers To Get More Training In Blizzard’s Aftermath

Chicago residents will be glad to know that there’s a silver lining to the “Blizzard of ’11”:

Emergency call takers will be receiving more training.

From the Chicago Tribune’s Cynthia Dizikes last weekend:

Chicago officials said they are developing mandatory training for emergency-call takers following February’s record-setting blizzard.

The in-service training will include advice on handling stressful and catastrophic situations, with the blizzard being used as the most recent example of a critical incident, city officials said.

The announcement came after the agency released a sampling of recorded 911 calls made by people, or on behalf of people, who were trapped for hours on Lake Shore Drive.

While city officials said most call-takers performed adequately during the crisis, some will be receiving more help than the rest. Dizikes added:

“All 911 call takers are trained to handle excited, angry or offensive callers, especially under stressful circumstances,” said Roderick Drew, spokesman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications. “Therefore, despite the extraordinary conditions surrounding this weather event, there is no excuse for any city of Chicago employee to treat callers in an unsatisfactory manner.”

Drew said several call takers will undergo one-on-one counseling on how to deal with callers more professionally.

While some might ridicule these call-takers, the way I look at it is- the more training, the better, especially when it concerns improving the city’s level of emergency preparedness.

Long-time Chicago residents know it’s only a matter of time before the next crisis hits. And competent individuals need to be at the other end of those lines.

Source:

Dizikes, Cynthia. “911 agency to retrain call takers after blizzard response.” Chicago Tribune. 16 Apr. 2011. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-911-blizzard-20110416,0,2053229.story). 22 Apr. 2011.

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Communications, Emergencies, Government, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Preparedness, Public Safety, Training, Weather Comments Off on Chicago 911 Call Takers To Get More Training In Blizzard’s Aftermath
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