Operation Tourist Boom Saturday

OCEAN CITY — It certainly won’t be a typical Saturday with an estimated 1,000 first-responders dashing around the downtown area, but there is no reason for alarm.

The Maryland National Guard and the Town of Ocean City are collaborating on Saturday on Operation Tourist Boom, a multi-agency training exercise aimed at gauging the participating agencies’ ability to quickly respond to multiple incidents at the same time. Allied federal, state and local agencies, along with private sector groups and quasi-public organizations will participate in the operation.

Operation Tourist Boom is designed to test the local, state and federal agencies’ ability to coordinate a measured response to the types of emergency situations that have occurred in other areas in recent years. Operation Tourist Boom is the latest in a series of exercises held on a regular basis by the Maryland National Guard to help the agency synchronize with first-responders from all levels of government.

Ocean City Emergency Management Director Joe Theobald explained the purpose behind the multi-agency exercise.

“Operation Tourist Boom will consist of several simultaneous complex incidents,” he said. “The training is designed to provide dynamic, high-intensity and realistic scenarios to test decision-making and response during an emergency.”

The objective of the operation is to conduct a realistic training operation that prepares the Maryland National Guard for a complex domestic incident. Maryland National Guard soldiers will practice interagency coordination and build partnership capacities with the local, state and federal agencies participating in the drills.

“It is critical for our teams to understand they don’t work alone,” said Major General Linda Singh, the adjutant general of Maryland. “We rely on all partners from all levels of state and federal government. This exercise is a good example of what happens when local planners work together to focus their efforts on keeping our citizens safe.”

Operation Tourist Boom will begin around 6:30 a.m. Saturday and conclude about 6:30 p.m. with various viewing areas available for spectators. The public is welcome and even encouraged to come out and see their allied first-responders working together during the various simulated exercises.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.