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    National Guard first responders train for disaster

    Search and Extraction Team trains for disaster

    Photo By Pfc. Douglas Saunders | Pfc. Garret A. Park, a member of the search and rescue team of the 235th Engineer...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Douglas Saunders 

    69th Public Affairs Detachment

    OAHU, Hawaii – Heroes come in all different forms. The fireman that rushes into a building, risking life and limb, to rescue people. The policemen who put their own safety in jeopardy to protect the innocent. The team of National Guard Soldiers that burrow into collapsed buildings, risking their lives, to pull helpless victims from near death.

    The Petaluma, Calif.-based Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) search and extract team of the California Army National Guard’s 235th Engineer Company (SAPPERS), 579th Engineer Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade are one element of those heroes.

    In May, during exercise Makani Pahili, meaning “Strong Winds”, on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Island chain, the CERFP SAPPERS trained with the Hawaiian National Guard, local fire departments and other first responders to learn new ways to save lives.

    Training is essential when it comes to everything the sappers do. The more they train, the better they become at bringing victims out of unthinkable situations alive.

    “It’s like second nature to us,” said Sgt. 1st class Brandon Morey, Platoon Sergeant., 235th Engineer Company “We go into tight situations like a collapsed building, and search for people trapped and in need of rescue.”

    The first day of training consisted of the sappers looking for “victims” stuck in a man-made rubble pile that simulated a buckled building.

    “We’ll break off into two groups,” said Morey. “One will search for victims, while the other will shore up walls and make it safe to rescue people.”

    Shoring the walls makes a safer working environment for the search teams, said Pfc. Garret Park, team member, 235th Engineer Company.

    Every different section of the team has a job that is relevant in the entire scheme of things to rescue citizens from terrible situations.

    Day two of training took all the members of both state National Guard units, integrating with one another in outdoor classrooms.

    “We learned how to cut steel beams with acetylene torches without further injuring trapped individuals,” said Private 1st Class Garret A. Park, CERFP shoring team member, California Army National Guard.

    Makani Pahili tests the abilities of each National Guard first responders along with local authorities, giving them new tools to save lives during a crisis.

    “[A company] devised a two-man tool using a blank .308 caliber rifle round that forces a piston into solid concrete that breaks up the obstruction in order to make it faster to get to victims,” said Santa Rosa, Calif. resident, Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Caddy, CERFP extraction team leader, California Army National Guard.

    The longer it takes to get to a casualty, it’s more likeable to turn to a body recovery then a life saving act, Caddy explained.

    “The more tools we have in our arsenal the better chances we have of making a terrible situation turn-out with a happy ending for everyone,” said Caddy.

    The obstacles and training brought to the table are meant to be so puzzling that it makes the individual trying to get to the end result think before they act said Morey.

    “We don’t only want the disaster to end well for the victim,” said Morey. “But we want to come out unscathed as well.”



    Date Taken: 05.30.2011
    Date Posted: 07.22.2011 18:37
    Story ID: 74170
    Location: WAIMANALO, HI, US 

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