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    Coordination saved lives in Joint Training Exercise

    Homestead Miami Speedway hosts Joint Training Exercise

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood | U.S. Army Reserve Spcs. Robert Gryncewicz, left, and Shane Brown with the 468th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood 

    412th Theater Engineer Command

    HOMESTEAD, Fla., -- Coordination between the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) and Active Army and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams, including the 468th Engineer Detachment (Firefighting Headquarters), saved lives in a simulated biohazard explosion at the Homestead Speedway near here, Jan. 11, 2018.
    The MDFR set up decontamination sites for itself and the Army units which allowed teams like the Detachment’s Urban Search and Rescue teams to respond to the scene even quicker.
    “We can’t send rescuers into the hot-zone until that is set up so instead of having to wait until our own decontamination team set up their equipment we were able to push Soldiers out much faster,” noted Capt. Samuel Turner, commander of the detachment from Danvers, Massachusetts. “This type of coordination is the cornerstone of mutual aid. Anything we can do to support and facilitate each other ultimately supports the saving of lives.”
    The Joint Training Exercise (JTE) between U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Army North, USARC, Florida National Guard and the MDFR focused on building response capabilities and the seamless transition between the local first responders and the follow-on support provided by the National Guard and Active Army Soldiers.
    The Detachment of the 368th Engineer Battalion, 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and 412th Theater Engineer Command also was being evaluated by U.S. Army North Observer/Controller Trainers (OC/Ts).
    Detachment safety noncommissioned officer, Sgt. Jason A. Benjamin, Sr., said the OC/Ts ensured that the 40-member plus Detachment, which has five firefighter teams, trained to standard and made on the spot corrections. This was a Quarterly Sustainment Training for the Detachment.
    The Miami Dade Fire Rescue was the first to respond to the biohazard explosion in the scenario. Several sections of the bleachers were “destroyed”, there was a multi-vehicle accident near the bleachers. The latter meant that the Detachment had to wear the hazardous material protective suits and protective masks during the exercise.
    “When they realized the extent of the scene, they reached out to the known Army units in the area doing training,” said Benjamin.
    A Detachment reconnaissance element with several medics was the first on scene. They were greeted by role players, some bloodied, shouting that they were in pain. The element’s mission was to assess hazards and triage “victims.”
    The team that relieved the reconnaissance team concentrated on the multi-vehicle accident. One car was upside down up against the end of the bleachers, a SUV was on its side next to it and a minivan was also on its side with its roof touching the rear wheel of the SUV.
    Sgt. Ian Tweeddale of Everett, Mass., was the crew chief for this team (the 356th).
    He said his first goal was to stabilize vehicles and ensure it was a safe working environment after learning that there were three victims in the accident.
    “Then our plan of attack went from there,” said Tweeddale.
    The three other teams responded to “victims” still in the bleachers and trapped in the “collapsed” bleachers.
    Turner noted that all of the teams worked in the site several times throughout the day.
    “Each taking over from the last in order to maintain proper rest cycles and keep our Soldiers in the fight,” said the police officer from Portland, Maine. “Keeping Soldiers in the fight,” comes down to the medics monitoring each Soldier before they enter and leave the “hot zone.”
    The rest cycles are also based on wet bulb readings. Turner said in southern Florida, a 20/40 (minute) rest cycle is not uncommon. Another consideration is that the suits that only weigh about 10 pounds do not breathe well.
    “(The medics) are able to identify Soldiers who may need a little more rehab or if teams as a whole require a change in the work schedule,” explained Turner.
    There also were changes in the exercises like this.
    Tweeddale, who has been in America’s Army Reserve for eight years and a firefighter for the last two years, remarked that he has seen several different scenarios in the training and this has helped him exercise his brain.
    “It takes a lot of teamwork to get through these scenarios because they are always different,” commented the former combat engineer.
    He may have summed up the exercise in the best way possible.
    “We get to be the good guy on someone’s bad day so that is a lot of fun.”



    Date Taken: 04.12.2018
    Date Posted: 04.12.2018 15:39
    Story ID: 272853
    Location: MIAMI, FL, US 
    Hometown: PORTLAND, ME, US

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