News: Fort Knox firemen dive into Vibrant Response 13
Story by Sgt. Terence Ewings
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Members of the Fort Knox Fire Protection Team rescued citizens trapped in flooded residential area during a Vibrant Response 13 water rescue exercise at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex, Aug. 9.
The Kentucky firemen received real-world rescue training during the homeland disaster training exercise, conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North. Vibrant Response 13 marks the third time the Fort Knox team has participated in the annual exercise.
“This is some of the best training we do all year,” said Jacob Geer, a Fort Knox fireman and native of Rineyville, Ky. “People in our department who come here are lucky, because they leave with a lot of knowledge and good training.”
Geer and the other firemen were responsible for evacuating mannequins, posing as injured civilians, which were trapped in houses and vehicles during the water rescue exercise.
“What we learn here we’ll take back and use it to train other guys in our department,” said Geer. “We’ll also have people from the city (fire department) come in and we’ll train with them too; this training goes a long way.”
Over the next four days, the Fort Knox firemen will work with the Alabama National Guard and other Joint Task Force Civil Support units to complete technical rescue training venues.
The Vibrant Response exercise is designed to train JTF-CS units and showcase their ability to provide support to local, state and federal civilian authorities.
During the homeland disaster training exercise, participants also conduct lifesaving and life-sustaining missions, provide logistics support to a theater of operations and perform technical chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) consequence management tasks and civil support plans.
Although the firemen did not train with troops on this water training exercise, Richard Ellsworth, another Fort Knox Fireman who participated in the exercise, admitted he is eager to work with his military counterparts.
“I think it’s great we get the opportunity to train with soldiers and conduct the same training that they do,” said Ellsworth, a native of Rineyville, Ky.
Ellsworth was one of the fireman who not only rode the water raft across the flooded village to rescue personnel, but he also ensured they were properly evacuated once they returned to land.
“This is our way of letting the troops know we appreciate the support they provide for us, and in turn we also have this opportunity to train with them and assist them on this exercise,” said Ellsworth.
As the Vibrant Response 13 exercise continues, the Fort Knox fireman will begin conducting search and extraction operations with their military counterparts. The homeland disaster training, which began mid-July, is scheduled to end later this month.