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Training, Drills, & Exercises 2006

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November 2006: MobEx Urban Search & Rescue
On November 13, 2006, New York Task Force 1 (NY-TF 1), a member of the national Urban Search and Rescue response system, conducted a Mobilization Exercise (MobEx) in the Concord Hotel, in Monticello, N.Y. NY-TF1 is an elite search and rescue team trained to extract victims trapped by heavy steel and concrete, like in the aftermath of an earthquake or bombing attack. MobEx controllers prepared partially and totally collapsed buildings and simulated a crippled overpass to test the decision making and technical ability of drill participants.

The scenario: At 11:23 p.m., a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hits 45 miles north of New York City. Several communities have sustained damage, resulting in widespread power outages, evacuations, and road closures. Building collapses and entrapments are reported. NY-TF1 is activated to support Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) operations.

The exercise: NY-TF1 reported to the Incident Support Team already on the scene. Upon arrival, NY-TF1 sent out a reconnaissance team and established a base of operations. The recon team located victims requiring immediate attention and team leaders prioritized the jobs based on the immediate threat to trapped victims. In one challenge, the team rescued victims from automobiles pinned under a collapsed overpass. In another, they used technical search techniques like specialty listening devices and search dogs to locate and extract a family from a partially collapsed, two-story home. In the final situation, the team busted through the walls and floors of a hotel to reach victims trapped in rooms rendered inaccessible by the earthquake.

During the drill, exercise controllers added a simulated aftershock and a collapsed tunnel to the scenario. The team had to adjust the rescue operation to account for the two team members who were now trapped under the hotel pool along with the hotel maintenance staff they had been working to rescue. The drill lasted for three days and was observed by over 25 controllers.

MobEx Confined Search and Rescue is an annual exercise run by NY-TF1 to maintain and improve its ability to respond to events involving the collapse of heavy steel and concrete. Every year MobEx controllers add new elements to the drill designed to push veteran NY-TF1 members past their comfort zone and help new members gain valuable field experience.

October 2006: HurrEx 2006
On October 22, 2006 — conducted at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn — the HurrEx Sheltering Full-Scale Exercise tested the sheltering component of the City's Coastal Storm Plan (CSP). The drill, which was managed by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Department of Homeless Services, called for setting up an evacuation center and training over 900 City employees to run a shelter and manage evacuees.

The scenario: Gale force winds from Hurricane Liberty, a Category 3 storm, are expected to make landfall near New York City approximately 24 hours from the start of the exercise. As the City makes preparations for the impending storm, the general population residing within Evacuation Zones A, B, and C is ordered to evacuate.

The exercise: HurrEx focused on the sheltering portion of the Costal Protection plan. Around 130 City employees from 20 agencies that would manage sheltering in a real coastal storm emergency absorbed over 700 mock evacuees in a central evaluation center. The players screened evacuees who reported medical complications, organized family re-unification and pet care staging areas, and bused evacuees to two hurricane shelters. By filtering the evacuees through a central point of control, the staff made special arrangements for medical conditions and spread its human resources more efficiently by opening shelters as needed.

The previous drills: This drill was the third in a series of exercises designed to determine the effectiveness of the City's Coastal Storm Plan and identify areas for improvement. A discussion-based decision-making exercise in June 2006 kicked off the series by tracking a hurricane from 120 hours before landfall until the decision to evacuate. Players in this exercise included over 60 City, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organization and private sector partners. The second exercise, covering 72 hours to 48 hours before the storm makes landfall, focused on the evacuation of patients from various healthcare facilities. Representatives from 37 hospitals, 21 nursing homes and 15 ambulance service providers gathered in the City's Emergency Operations Command (EOC) center in July 2006 to participate.

A list of participants:
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • American Red Cross of Greater NY
  • City University of New York
  • NYC Community Emergency Response Teams
  • NYC Administration for Children's Services
  • NYC Department for the Aging
  • NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services
  • NYC Department of Design and Construction
  • NYC Department of Education
  • NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • NYC Department of Finance
  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • NYC Department of Homeless Services
  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
  • NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • NYC Department of Probation
  • NYC Department of Transportation
  • NYC Fire Department–Emergency Medical Service
  • NYC Housing Authority
  • NYC Human Resources Administration
  • NYC Law Department
  • NYC Mayor's Office
  • NYC Police Department
  • NYC School Construction Authority
  • The Salvation Army
View the press release

March 2006: TRIFECTA
On March 26, 2006 — staged at the Maspeth Rail Yard in Queens — the TRIFECTA field exercise was designed to test the City's response to a chemical incident. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness and hosted by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), TRIFECTA tested the execution of the Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS), specifically the city's hazardous materials response, first responder safety, decontamination and fatality management.

The scenario: The drill began at 10 a.m. with a 911 call to alert the City's fire and police departments to an explosion on a freight train. The first responders arrived on the scene and immediately found wounded passengers from a commuter train traveling in the opposite direction.

The exercise: Drawing participants from more than 25 City and partner agencies, TRIFECTA focused primarily on emergency response coordination, critical decision-making, and the integration of CIMS. Exercise players were challenged to establish an effective command element in accordance with CIMS. Nearly 1,000 responders created search and rescue teams, decontamination and fatality management centers, and disseminated accurate information to media and the public.

The workshop: On March 8, OEM hosted a tabletop workshop to test a scenario in which the newly-established Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) would activate. This system streamlines the tracking of missing persons in a mass casualty incident. In the event of such an emergency, friends and family members will be urged by the NYPD or the Mayor to direct their calls to 311. At this time, precincts will stop taking missing persons reports and refer all people to 311.

A list of participants:
  • American Red Cross of Greater NY
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Greater New York Hospital Association
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • MTA Long Island Rail Road
  • MTA Police Department
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • New York and Atlantic Railway
  • NYC Community Emergency Response Teams
  • NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
  • NYC Police Department
  • NYC Fire Department
  • NYC Fire Department — Emergency Medical Service
  • NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
  • NYC Mayor's Office
  • NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • NYC Office of Emergency Management
  • NYS Emergency Management Office
  • Port Authority of NY and NJ
  • Regional Emergency Medical Services Council
  • The Salvation Army
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
View the press release

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