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Disaster Response Drill Planned Friday At Walter Reed Bethesda

"Exercise Hekla" will have minimal impact on traffic near the base, county officials said.

Officials at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will test their emergency medical and security response during a mock multi-casualty event Friday.

During the drill, known as Exercise Hekla, officials will set up a 25-bed rapid response shelter and a portable decontamination shelter to test their response to an event involving a radiological agent.

About 70 staffers will act as mock victims of an explosion, DC Military reports. Hospital operations will be reduced during the exercise, according to the report.

County BRAC coordinator Phil Alperson said in an e-mail the drill would have minimal impact on traffic surrounding the base, but drivers can expect to see an increase in emergency response vehicles outside the fence line.

Exercise Hekla is named for one of Iceland's most active volcanoes.

"Volcanoes can erupt any time, they lead to mass devastation -- much like what we need to plan, train and prepare for [in] a disaster," Chris Gillette, Command Emergency Manager at WRNMMC, told DC Military.

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