Fort Hood companies prepare for crisis-management mission
April 17, 2013
In a little more than a week, the 68th Engineer Company and the 44th Chemical Company conducted training in preparation for their upcoming yearlong crisis management mission.
"The purpose for (the training) is to test our company's systems," said 1st Sgt. Ignacio Rangel, 68th Eng. Co.
During their mission, the company will be working along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency on standby with a 48-hour alert window, ready to react to anything from a natural disaster, to a terrorist attack, to a nuclear disaster within the U.S., Rangel said.
As the week progressed, Soldiers were faced with various scenarios from assisting the local population with basic supplies to reacting to a chemical, nuclear or biological incident.
"It's reacting to a chemical, nuclear or biological incident and training how best to respond and help out FEMA in an incident," Sgt. 1st Class David Farveau, operations sergeant for the 68th Eng. Co., said. "If a state agency needed assistance from the federal government, then FEMA would step in and coordinate between different agencies and assist the state."
At that point, the company would receive guidance from FEMA and assist with operations, Farveau added.
The weeklong training event was in preparation for the culminating scenario in which all the skills the Soldiers learned just a few days prior, were now put to the test.
In the final scenario, chemical plant workers suffered a chemical blast and Soldiers of the 44th Chem. Co. assisted with decontamination efforts of personnel and equipment, and medically evacuated the dead and wounded.
"Basically, we have role players that act as if they were in a contaminated area," said Spc. Natalia Rivera Colon, chemical specialist with 44th Chem. Co., 2nd Chemical Battalion. "They go through (the decontamination) line and based on what happened to them go through either the immediate or delay lane."
Once personnel have been completely decontaminated, their wounds are treated, she added.
"I was a 73-year-old lady," Rivera Colon said about her role. "I had some head lacerations and was close to the chemical agent, which was a blister agent that's why I have blisters on my hands. I was also in a car accident."
Despite the chilly weather, Rivera Colon was not only satisfied with the training she received, but also looked forward to more training in the future.
"It's good," Rivera Colon said. "It's unfortunate the weather did not allow us to turn on the water and get wet but there's always time in the future."