By Elizabeth Behring, AMCMarch 25, 2019
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A jug of water, first aid kit, warm blanket: all just a few things travelers should consider keeping in their cars in case of emergency. While one hopes to never use them, preparedness is key, something Chuck Davis, Army Materiel Command's fire and emergency services program manager, believes can never be practiced enough.
First-responders across the country converged onto Redstone Arsenal March 14-15 to conduct what Davis believes is the first Rescue Task Force Seminar on the installation, something he said is not just vital for readiness, but is governed by Department of Defense Instruction, the Occupational Safety Health Administration and Army Regulation.
Players from Redstone Arsenal; Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky; Scottsboro, Alabama; Fort Riley, Kansas; Red River Army Depot, Texas; Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado; Sierra Army Depot, California; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Anniston Army Depot, Alabama; Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania; and Huntsville Emergency Medical Services worked together, many for the first time, during the exercise.
The first day included a four-hour lecture with a video produced by the FBI, which referenced historical lessons learned; an overview of the rescue task force concept; hands-on learning and a wound-packing exercise. Day two included live-action scenarios with about 20 student volunteers from nearby Calhoun Community College, most of whom were in moulage to create a more realistic scene.
"We need to maintain these skills, particularly in locations that maybe did not have the necessary equipment or trainers to do so. We need to update the performance work standards, and part of that is to ensure our emergency medical technicians have the proper certifications," Davis said.
That is where the RTF training comes in, and Davis said both Watervliet Arsenal in New York and Oklahoma's McAlister Army Ammunition Plant have conducted similar training, with Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pennsylvania, close to implementing theirs.
"Watervliet was the first pilot site, and McAlister did RTF training in fall 2018. First, the concept plans are developed, the pilot sites are evaluated, lessons learned are assessed and then it becomes a command-wide policy down the road," Davis said.
Davis has oversight of government-owned, government-operated facilities located at Anniston Army Depot; Blue Grass Army Depot; Military Ocean Terminal Concord, California; Letterkenny Army Depot; McAlister Army Ammunition Plant; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas; Pueblo Chemical Depot; Red River Army Depot; Sierra Army Depot; Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, North Carolina; Tobyhanna Army Depot; Tooele Army Depot, Utah; and Watervliet Arsenal.
Davis is also responsible for training at government-owned, contractor-operated facilities at Hawthorne Army Depot, Nevada; Holston Army Ammunition Plant and Milan Army Ammunition Plant, Tennessee; Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Virginia; and Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, Pennsylvania.
Davis, who served more than eight years as an Air Force firefighter and 20 years as a civilian health and safety officer, came to AMC from the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, to provide oversight of fire and emergency services across the AMC enterprise and as liaison to enhance and maintain performance work standards and better prepare to react to catastrophic events.
Davis noted that the RTF training, which is geared to test only fire and law enforcement, is better enhanced with Active Attack Integrator Training and Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, both of which are conducted by ALERTT, or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training.
"With this training, there is a 'true event,' so we are practicing like it's the real thing," Davis said.
He added that lessons learned from tragic shootings like the ones at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub in 2016 and Las Vegas in 2017 have impacted real change nationwide in how, for instance, 911 dispatchers handle a sudden influx of calls, to translating the different languages fire and law enforcement speak across various jurisdictions, to getting medical treatment facilities more adept at handling mass casualties.
It is important for first responders to not only provide security and medical attention, but to enhance general public education to keep even casual bystanders ready to react and come to the aid of their colleagues and friends.
"Bottom line, any type of training like this is about the protection, safety and well-being of our people," Davis said.