Operational Readiness Exercise at Disaster City focuses on radiation exposure

Search and rescue in a contaminated environment was the focus of the Operational Readiness Exercise for the Texas Task Force 1 blue team at Disaster City® on April 25-28. The scenario was designed as a gas pipeline explosion with mass casualties, and the exercise involved performing search and rescue in a radiologically and chemically contaminated area. This is the second year the task force has exercised the National US&R Response System Concept of Operations, US&R Operations in a Contaminated Area. 

“At the end of next year all three teams will have participated in exercises designed around the concept of operations,” said Jeff Saunders, Operations Chief for Texas task Force 1. “We utilize the annual training leading up to a full-scale exercise to reinforce procedures, equipment and personal protection used in a contaminated environment.” 

Other groups joined the task force for the exercise, including the Texas National Guard 6th Civil Support Team (CST), the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team and the College Station Fire Department.

“This isn’t something where anybody has all the resources available so we’re able to work together to be able to identify what the mission is and complete it successfully,” said Carter Hall, the HazMat Operations Commander with the College Station Fire Department.

The 6th CST has the expertise and equipment to support the incident commander and enter contaminated areas to detect, monitor and assess hazards before their fire & EMS counterparts conduct their efforts, according to Army Maj. Jeffrey Powell. 

Texas Task Force 1 has the personnel and equipment to perform search and rescue and extricate survivors in the areas identified by the CST and local responders, Saunders said.

By regularly participating in joint training exercises, the guardsmen of the 6th CST ensure that they are familiar and comfortable with the people and protocols of their civil counterparts before disaster strikes. “We get to meet with our local first responders and it’s always good to know who you’re working with before there’s a disaster,” Powell said.

Read the complete article about National Guard’s 6th Civil Support Team’s participation in the joint exercise.

Watch KBTX-TV segment on the Veterinary Emergency Team’s participation in the exercise.