First responders ready to stand as one against threats
August 9, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS -- August is the Army's annual Antiterrorism Awareness Month, but for the first responders who have the awesome responsibility of preventing and responding to potential threats and incidents within our community, preparing and training to respond to terrorism happens all year-round.
Federal firefighters, emergency medical technicians, military police and the Special Reaction Team, 728th MP Battalion, were among the first responders from the garrison community that participated in an antiterrorism force protection exercise, July 29-30, testing the participants in various scenarios such as mass casualties, triage, active shooters, hostage negotiations and more.
"In simulating these real-world events during training, we're actually looking at making sure the people we have in place right now -- the senior leaders as well as the junior leaders -- understand the relationships that occur between the local agencies on post," said Maj. Peter Cruz, deputy provost marshal, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 8th MP Brigade.
Ensuring the ability of these agencies to communicate with each other is another advantage to this type of training event.
"The purpose is to test our communication between the military police that are on the ground, to those that are doing incident command, to the civilians that work as part of the garrison in the emergency operations center … to make sure that we are able to respond to any incidents that might occur here or anywhere on the island that needs military police," said Lt. Col. Theresa Farrell, provost marshal, USAG-HI, and commander, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Brigade.
Firefighters from the Federal Fire Department-Hawaii were among some of the first responders called to the scene during both days of training.
"It was a really good experience. We don't get an opportunity to train with these guys too often. Now with this type of interoperability training, if something big ever goes down, we all know how each other works, and it will go smoother," said Jason Lopez, paramedic, Federal Fire.
"We had a large mass casualty operation during the active shooter drills. The various injuries ranged from deceased on scene to minor walking wounded. Everybody was triaged and transported with a group effort from all the players involved," said Lopez. "We got some good hands on training and practice in triaging, treating multiple patients at a time, making transport decisions and practicing our command structure. Practicing our inoperability with the various other units on base makes for one cohesive unit."
The training honed techniques, practices and communication between the organizations that make up the first responder community, and it also brought the first responder community together to strengthen that bond between those that are first to rush on scene during any crisis.
"Everybody plays their role. Everybody has a vested interest in the patient and a vested interest in the community at large for its welfare," added Lopez. "Training events like these foster a first responder community."
Farrell also reflected on the training.
"It's good to see all the directorates work together," she said. "We work together on a daily basis, but to get everyone out in a specific training environment with a specific set of objectives has been great across the board."