News: Emergency training put to test with crash exercise
Story by Paul Bello
WASHINGTON -An invaluable aircraft crash exercise was conducted on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Nov. 13 near the Naval Research Laboratory and base housing off of McGuire Avenue. JBAB’s Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Public Works departments, along with its Incident Management Team and Emergency Management Office, took part in the drill that looks to instill key training in not only emergency response, but how organizations communicate with each other in the event of an emergency.
While one group is at the scene aiding and transporting victims and those injured, many other variables are at play. Traffic needs to be maintained; outside agencies must be notified; requests from the media must be properly handled and those living, working and visiting the base must be accounted for in a timely manner.
JBAB Vice Commander Air Force Col. Michael E. Saunders was pleased with how the exercise unfolded, particularly with the communication between JBAB and its mission partners. He hopes to raise the bar and get even better with future exercises.
“I would like to see a checklist so our team members know what to do and that there’s a standard expectation of what happens at the Emergency Operations Center,” Saunder said. “Other than that, I believe things went really well.”
Erik Grosof, assistant to the director of operations for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), was a return guest to JBAB this year, as he participated in last year’s crash exercise. While there’s security on a military installation, that doesn’t change any of the challenges or demands in an emergency, he said.
“This is a controlled exercise. Though, in the event of an actual crash, we’re looking at five to seven days of having to walk through a crash site and document everything,” Grosof said. “That’s a general timeframe for something like this. There’s a lot of air traffic over JBAB. It’s very important to stay prepared and have contingency measures in place.”
During a briefing at the Emergency Operations Center, Grosof provided an overview of the NTSB and its role in times of emergencies, in addition to its standard operating procedure in the event of an aircraft crash.
Timothy Trammel, director of training and emergency readiness at JBAB, agreed with Saunders that the exercise was a success and that communication was solid among all the participating organizations.
“I was very pleased with everyone’s response. Participation was great,” Trammel said. “There’s a lot involved with exercises like this.”