Terror trainingDenver holds Operation Mountain Guardian drill

Published 23 September 2011

The city of Denver, Colorado plays host to a massive terror-attack simulation involving over 100 emergency services organizations; the largest drill of its kind in the region is intended to ‘stress-test” the planning and resources of local first responders

With the involvement of over 100 individual jurisdictions and agencies, Denver today played host to Operation Mountain Guardian, the largest coordinated terrorism attack drill held in the area.

The simulation concept is that of four coordinated attacks at ten locations around Denver. The drill is modeled after the November, 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

Scheduled to run all day, from 5 AM through to approximately 4:30 PM, the exercise will include generous amounts of smoke, loud, sudden noises as well as simulated small arms fire.

It will include planned responses from 101 police departments, fire departments, emergency medical personnel and ambulances as well as military personnel and hospitals. Residents and visitors are being advised to expect explosions, smoke, drawn weapons and simulated small-arms fire, as well as emergency vehicles racing about.

Designed to “stress-test” the plans made by a variety of emergency services and first response organizations in the Denver area. There will be no shortage of mass casualties, though no public streets or business facilities will be closed off to the public during the exercise.

The wide-ranging simulation will take place at venues as varied as shopping malls, an elementary school, the Community College of Aurora, as well as Denver International Airport, Sky Ridge Medical Center, University of Colorado Hospital, and the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.


The goal of the medical facilities’ involvement is to test planning done in the event of a medical surge, a sudden increase in medical need, as would follow a large-scale terror attack. Being tested are first response, transport to medical facilities, triage and treatment of a range of likely terrorist-caused injuries.

Funding for the exercise comes from the Department of Homeland Security through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and from the Colorado Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.