Army, local first responders exercise terrorist drills
November 10, 2010
YANGJU, South Korea - Two silhouetted figures stood perched atop the MBC television building here. Within seconds the Korean National Police Special Duty Team members swooped 10 floors to the ground and took positions giving them an unobstructed view of the terrorists and hostages inside.
A band of seven terrorists had taken 15 hostages. First responders from the SDT, local and U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud fire departments, ambulatory rescue teams, biochemical hazard response team and a Republic of Korea Army decontamination unit all rushed on the scene Nov. 1.
On this occasion, it was just an emergency rescue exercise designed to test first responders' ability to react to a series of complex scenarios involving terrorists taking hostages and using fire and biochemical hazards in the local community.
As part of the simulated exercise, the KNP's Special Duty Team flushed the terrorists from the building and disarmed them, and ambulatory teams rushed in to recover the injured, including the injured terrorists who were strapped firmly to gurneys and closely guarded by the Special Duty Team armed with K-1 assault rifles.
Finally, the remaining six hostages ran from the building as the lone terrorist inside sets off a biochemical hazard causing hazardous gas to pour from the building. Injured civilians lying on the ground outside the building were decontaminated and taken away as the ROKA decon team sprayed down the building.
Following the exercise, spectators were permitted to look inside the hazardous materials vehicle used by the biochemical emergency response team, examine equipment used by the fire department and KNP Special Duty Team in emergency situations, and see a cardiopulmonary resuscitation demonstration. The SDT also demonstrated several repelling techniques.
"The SWAT team was really cool," said Shin Yeong-il, a Yangju resident who watched the exercise. "It was amazing how they came down face first. It looked very scary, but they were experts and did a great job."
Members of the the USAG Red Cloud Fire and Emergency Services team were pleased to participate in the exercise with the local Korean counterparts.
"This was a really good event," said Yi Chong-hun, Red Cloud Garrison fire inspector. "I've been to other exercises like this and this one captured some difficult procedures that police and firemen have to be well trained for on a day to day basis."
John Cook, Red Cloud Garrison fire chief, said the exercise demonstrated how first responders must work together in many different situations.
"When we prepare for these events, and when we can get the whole team and different departments practicing together, it shows how we should always prepare for any given situation," Cook said.