By Al Macks, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 20, 2013
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- "Ready topside! Ready lower! Ready for two! Ready for three!" yelled Capt. Art Webb from the City of Monterey Fire Department and Monterey County Urban Search and Rescue team leader.
No, this is not a new military drill or cadences for the Marines. It is Urban Search and Rescue Systems 1 training.
"This training presents a unique challenge, demanding both a highly specialized individual training, yet with a multidisciplinary approach," explained Stewart Roth, division chief at the City of Monterey Fire Department.
He said that the Marines who spent two week training with firefighters are "highly motivated, and very astute to learning search and rescue."
Roth explained that the training helps ensure the Presidio of Monterey is prepared to locate personnel in the event of either natural or manmade disasters.
Capt. Daniel G. Bowers, operations officer and company commander for the Marine Corps Detachment at the Presidio, said that the training "has been incredibly beneficial" for the Marines and firefighters alike.
"It is important for us to work together and understand each other's procedures, as we may very well find ourselves working alongside each other during emergencies," he said.
Natural disasters are not uncommon in Central California. Bowers said that several "recent natural disasters have shown us there are and will continue to be cause for search-and-rescue preparedness."
Areas of special concern are along the volatile San Andreas Fault, "where we understand a catastrophic event will likely result in tragic loss of life and resources," he said. "Our goal through this training is not to replace a first responder, rather supplement our community's rescue services and enable our civilian emergency personnel to focus on the worst injuries."
Bowers also said that by putting "fit, trained and equipped Marines" on the ground to search for and rescue injured persons, the military can "alleviate the strain on the local emergency services."
"We are becoming a highly trained and technical resource for the garrison commander to use to protect his personnel, their families and property," said Bowers.
As a result of the military's training efforts with local agencies, Bowers said that the local emergency personnel are developing "clear lines of communication and an ability to provide immediate rescue response to populated areas like the Ord Military Community, La Mesa Housing and the Presidio of Monterey."