FIRE (USAR)

Intense Training for Intense Times  Event Date September 7-11, 2017  |   facebook icon youtube icon twitter icon    

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Red Area Command Overview

This year’s host for the Red Command is the Alameda County Fire Department.  The Incident Commander overseeing the activities of the Red Area Command will be David Winnacker, Division Chief of Special Operations.   “Fire Branch” scenarios for 2016 as required by the Department of Homeland Security grant guidelines will be primarily based on responses to hazardous materials, land and water based, search and rescue incidents, and a rescue task force incident, all with a nexus to terrorism. There will be a continued emphasis placed on decision-making skills rather than simply completing a specific set of tasks.   

Participating teams will also be evaluated on their ability to participate in a multi-disciplinary approach to an incident through their interaction with other first responders and civilian volunteers typically present at large scale incidents during a series of timed scenarios. To maximize “on-scene” time of teams, the travel distance to the next scenario location will be kept to a minimum by locating all the scenario sites within a 10-minute travel distance.  US&R, hazardous materials, and rescue task force scenarios will take place in the general area of Livermore, CA.  Maritime fire/rescue scenarios will take place in the waters of the San Francisco Bay.

Participating teams will begin rotating through assigned scenarios beginning on Saturday, September 12th at 9:00 a.m. and finishing around 6:00 p.m. that evening.  Teams assigned to participate on Sunday will repeat the process.

US&R and Hazardous Materials teams will participate in four time-based scenarios lasting approximately 2 hours each. Maritime fire/rescue/EMS boats and crews will participate in six, time-based scenarios each lasting approximately 1 hour each with the goal of all boats being off the water before sunset.  All teams will be evaluated and graded by at least one proctor who will be a subject matter expert. Those teams with the highest cumulative scores will be selected to receive special recognition during an awards banquet on Monday, September 12th.   

Interested local fire and police units will also be invited to participate in a multi-disciplinary rescue task force scenario preceded by a training workshop. This training/scenario will be offered (4) times over the weekend and is open to single resources from eligible police and fire agencies. Due to the emerging nature of this discipline, no scores will be given and the emphasis will be on the delivery of a standardized curriculum followed by a scenario based practical application.

Upon arriving at a scenario, teams will attend a general briefing that will orient them to the site, provide the rules of engagement and direct them to work the scenario in a unified manner, sharing resources and personnel. A safety briefing will also be delivered.

Scenarios will end with a short presentation by the participants, intended to provide an opportunity for them to describe what problems were identified, how they were resolved, rationale for tasks performed, lessons learned, followed by general feedback from the proctor regarding performance.   

Urban Search and Rescue Team Expectations

US&R teams will be presented with realistic, mentally and physically challenging, state-of-the-art training scenarios which will require them to demonstrate their ability to operate in an “all risk” environment.  Examples of “all-risk” include rescue from confined spaces, trenches, high and low angles, entrapments, building collapse, etc.  US&R task forces should be prepared to size up a rescue incident, control any hazards that are present, establish the necessary infrastructure to support day/night operations, perform a search for trapped victims, provide EMS in the area of entrapment when medically indicated, disentangle trapped victims through spreading, prying, cutting, lifting or lowering operations, then extricate victims to an area of safety in preparation for transport.  All US&R teams will be evaluated and graded by at least one proctor who will be a subject matter expert. Sites will include high angle rescue, heavy lift, confined space, and low angle rescue.

Hazardous Materials Team Expectations

Hazardous materials response teams must demonstrate their ability in a series of realistic, mentally and physically challenging, state-of-the-art training scenarios to respond to the uncontrolled releases of hazardous substances during transportation or at fixed facilities as well as incidents involving weapons of mass destruction.  Participating teams should be prepared to use detection and monitoring devices, perform product sampling and identification through wet chemistry or instrumentation, detect and identify radioactive sources, refer to technical manuals and/or chemical safety databases, perform hazard analysis, perform plume modeling, collecting samples for the purpose of establishing exclusionary zones and perimeters, provide recommendations to fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement, public works, and CERT/NERT personnel regarding  protective actions, product control and mitigation measures, selection of personal protective equipment,  decontamination and disposal.   All hazmat teams will be evaluated and graded by at least one proctor who will be a subject matter expert. Sites will include biological agents, Radiological agents, chemical weapons, and a rail car emergency.

Maritime/Fire/Rescue and EMS Team Expectations

Maritime/Fire/Rescue teams will be presented with realistic, mentally and physically challenging training scenarios that will require them to demonstrate their ability to operate in an “all risk” environment.  Examples of “all-risk” include searching for persons reported overboard, in-water rescues, and responding to reports of oil spill followed by the provision of EMS for sick and/or injured survivors.  Boat handling, navigation, use of navigation aid, marlinspike seamanship and familiarity with maritime rescue tools and equipment will also be evaluated.  All maritime/fire/rescue and EMS boats and crews will be evaluated and graded by at least one proctor who will be a subject matter expert

Rescue Task Force Expectations

The Rescue Task Force scenario is open to single resources from both fire and law agencies of any size. Participation will be appropriate for both engine companies and patrol officers as well as supervisors through the rank of Battalion Chief and Police Lt. The scenarios will be offered twice each day and begin with a period of instruction designed to educate participants in best practices. Fire and law elements will then be paired up into rescue task forces and will participate in a scenario designed to emphasize key points covered in the period of instruction and to develop team work between both law and fire participants. The scenario will be followed by a brief hot wash.

New and Emerging Technologies

Sponsoring vendors will be present at selected scenario sites to showcase new and emerging technologies to aid first responders at the scene of US&R and hazardous materials incidents.  Participants will also have an opportunity to utilize these new and emerging technologies during scenarios.

Participation Encouraged-Help Spread the Word!

First responder organizations, may participate in any of the following ways:

  1. Encourage your personnel to attend the Urban Shield “Training Day” Event to be held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, CA on Friday, September 9th from 0800-1700 hours. Speakers from around the United States will be sharing their knowledge and expertise on subjects that include current terrorism trends, experiences of first responders who responded to acts of terrorism and lessons learned including discussions on new and emerging technologies.  During breaks, visit the vendor show next door.
  2. Send your US&R and/or hazardous materials team comprised of no more than 7 personnel that includes their supervisor who will be assigned to compete from 0900-1800 hours on either Saturday, September 10th or Sunday, September 11th in four realistic, challenging, and state-of-the-art training scenarios.
  3. Send your maritime fire/rescue/EMS boat and crew comprised of no more than six personnel that includes their supervisor who will be assigned to compete from 0900-1800 hours on either Saturday, September 10th or Sunday, September 11th in five realistic, challenging, and state-of-the-art training scenarios.
  4. Send your fire and police personnel as single resources to participate in the multi-disciplinary scenario that will take place on Saturday, September 10th and Sunday September 11th from 0900-1300 and 1400-1800 hours.

How to Sign-Up

The Fire Branch has authorization to allow a total of 8 US&R teams, 8 hazardous materials, 12 maritime and to participate in Urban Shield 2016.  In the event there is a demand for additional slots, efforts will be made to try and accommodate additional teams.  To sign up as a single resource or your department/agency's team, please contact Fire Captain Matt Portteus of the Alameda County Fire Department at (925) 833-3473 or via e-mail at matthew.portteus@acgov.org

Funding

Please note that Urban Shield has no funds available to offset the costs of overtime for employees who may wish to participate in the exercise.  Nor does Urban Shield have funds available to offset the costs of backfilling on-duty of participants.

Why you and Your Department/Agency's Participation is Important

Urban Shield is designed to strengthen each participating agency’s preparedness to respond in a unified manner to threats or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.  Participation in Urban Shield is a unique opportunity to evaluate the competencies of your hazardous materials and/or US&R team in real life scenarios that they are likely to encounter which will help validate effectiveness of an organization’s training, policies, procedures, as well as the return on investment by a community.  Urban Shield also presents US&R, hazardous materials, and maritime fire/rescue program managers a unique opportunity to further develop the knowledge/skills of talented individuals within their organizations whom they hope will aspire for greater responsibility.   

For more information on Urban Shield or the Red Command-Fire Branch visit http://www.urbanshield.org/.  For first responders or   their organizations that wish to obtain more information about how they may participate, please contact Fire Captain Matt Portteus of the Alameda County Fire Department at (925) 833-3473 or via e-mail at matthew.portteus@acgov.org

REMEMBER-ALL RED AREA COMMAND, GENERAL STAFF AND OTHERS INCLUDING VOLUNTEERS MUST SIGN-UP ON THE URBAN SHIELD WEBSITE LISTED ABOVE!!!!  To register click the "Register" tab on the Urban Shield website and follow the instruction provided.   

By David Winnacker
2016 Red Area Command Incident Commander (IC)
Division Chief of Special Operations
Alameda County Fire Department

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