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    The Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team trains with first responders from across the state.

    The Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team trains with first responders from across the state.

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Reece Heck | A Member of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team, Staff Sgt....... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    Edmond, Okla. - In a weeklong operational readiness exercise, the Oklahoma National Guard's 63rd Civil Support Team with-Task Force One and various first responders from across the state honed their search and rescue skills recently. The event, which takes place every two years, allows the 63rd CST and other first responders the opportunity to collaborate, train, and stay prepared in the case of a disaster.

    TF-1 is made up of two urban search and rescue teams who are trained and equipped with high level rescue capabilities. The teams consist of 125 members from 33 agencies in and around the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas.

    Sgt. 1st Class Simmons explained the importance of building relationships with other first responders during exercises like this one.

    “The last thing you want to do is, in the event of a natural disaster is show up on scene and start swapping phone numbers and names. [This exercise's] purpose is to maintain that discipline, that networking, and relationship building.,” Simmons said. “That way when you get on scene of a natural disaster, all you’re doing is a handshake, then it’s straight to work to help the victims and help everything get back to normal as quick as possible.”

    In the past, these agencies collaborated in support of different natural disasters, such as the 2019 floods in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the 2013 Moore, Oklahoma Tornado. This training also allows the CST to practice different skills and proficiencies they normally wouldn’t get to practice.

    "So outside of our primary focus, which is chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-related incidents, our secondary operations are search and rescue. Within search and rescue, we do confined space, collapsed structure, swift water operations, and wide area search," said Simmons.

    One scenario included extracting a victim from a collapsed structure after a tornado. The CST practiced drilling through concrete to safely get the victim to safety.

    The CST also performed swift water rescue training which involved first responders working together to harness and zip line themselves from a bridge to save a drowning victim from flood water.

    In the face of potential disasters, the 63rd Civil Support Team's commitment to preparedness and collaborative readiness stands as a testament to their dedication to the safety and well-being of the people of Oklahoma.



    Date Taken: 10.04.2023
    Date Posted: 10.19.2023 12:20
    Story ID: 455658
    Location: EDMOND, OK, US

    Web Views: 32
    Downloads: 0