In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Playing A Civilian In A New York Fire Department Terrorism Drill

May 5th, 2008 · 5 Comments

As part of our CERT responsibilities, we are occasionally asked to participate in City emergency drills. On Saturday, I had the opportunity along with 30 other CERT members to play the role of ‘civilians’ in a major New York Fire Department (FDNY) exercise, “Operation Civil Support”. 

FDNY-CERT Drill (Firemen arrive to rescue us ‘civilians’ after mock chemical attack on mock subway at the Fire Academy)

FDNY-CERT Drill (Outside a chemical decontamination tent after evacuating the subway)

The drill was held at the Fire Department Academy on Randalls Island along with units of the New York State National Guard. I will not go into great detail about the drill, but there was a news story about it in Sunday’s New York Daily News which reported:

More than 400 soldiers and 100 firefighters responded to a simulated bus explosion, a building collapse and a chemical attack in the subway at the And according to a FDNY media advisory:

Operation Civil Support is a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE) training exercise designed to help prepare both members of the FDNY and the New York National Guard in the event of a multi-trauma incident in New York City. The training is all based on real-life events that have occurred world wide; the intent of the exercise is to test and evaluate the FDNY’s core competencies – consisting of fire and life safety, along with the challenge of integrating the National Guard.

FDNY-CERT Drill My fellow team member, ESNA-CERT Deputy Chief Dave Gillespie, gets ‘lacerations’ applied to him by a Fire Academy Paramedic Instructor so he can play the role of an injured civilian in one of the drill scenarios.

Our role as CERT team members in the exercise was to help first responders practice dealing with civilians after a terrorist attack. I am sure that this exercise was very helpful for the uniformed personnel. But it was also very informative and instructive for the CERT members as well. The experience helped us better understand the role of responders and citizens in emergencies, and it will make us more effective in our communities both before and during these situations.

One of the major reasons for these exercises is to allow the responders from different agencies to meet each other before the ‘real thing’. (”You shouldn’t be handing out business cards at the scene of a disaster” is a common refrain I’ve heard.) I believe it is similarly important for CERT members, particularly those from nearby areas, to forge relationships in advance as well.

The Fire Department (as well as the Office of Emergency Management) deserve a lot of credit for including CERT in this major exercise. I — and I think most if not all the CERTs there — hope that we have a chance to participate in these drills in the future.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Technorati

Tags: CERT

5 responses so far ↓

Leave a Comment