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Training, Drills, & Exercises: 2009

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November 2009: CERT Disaster Training at Randall's Island
On November 15, 2009, members of New York City's Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) met at the Fire Academy on Randall's Island for a day of disaster training.

During the first half of the day, CERT volunteers reviewed emergency response skills in a classroom setting and toured the Fire Academy's subway emergency training center. After lunch, the volunteers deployed to the scene of a mock emergency, a city bus explosion, on the Fire Academy's "Disaster Row."

The scenario involved multiple fires, a gas leak, a building evacuation, and victim triage. CERT volunteers broke into teams to survey the scene, establish an incident command post, redirect traffic to create a perimeter, and address the emergencies and victims. Disaster victims were played by CERT volunteers and Fire Department mannequins.

The disaster drill was designed to help CERT volunteers keep their response skills fresh and foster communication and teamwork among multiple CERT teams.

NYC CERT volunteers are trained to support the efforts of New York City's first responders. During non-emergency situations, NYC CERTs educate their communities on emergency preparedness by working with the Ready New York program and building community disaster networks.
View the press release
Learn more about CERT

November 2009: Vigilant Guard
On November 2, 2009, 52 members of the New York Task Force 1 (NY-TF1) Urban Search and Rescue team deployed to Tonawanda, N.Y., to participate in Vigilant Guard, an exercise designed to train military and civilian responders to work together in a disaster. The drill spanned three days and included more than 2,000 participants from New York City, New York State, and the Buffalo National Guard.

The team responded to the scene of a mock hospital and adjacent parking garage damaged by a 5.9 earthquake. An unknown number of victims, played by plastic mannequins, were trapped in heavy debris.

Upon arrival, the team surveyed the area, set up a command post, and deployed search units to locate victims. Structural specialists used laser-sighted tools to measure the stability of the debris piles. These tools, like those used by landscape surveyors, detect slight variations in debris piles to alert responders about a potential collapse. Rescue equipments specialist used concrete drilling tools to cut paths to trapped mannequins while medical specialists determined the best way to stabilize and treat the mock victims.

August 2009: Logistics Power Outage Exercises
On the six-year anniversary of the 2003 blackout, the Logistics, Administration/Finance and MIS units of the New York City Office of Emergency Management conducted an exercise to test the agency’s ability to validate, prioritize, and deliver resources in the event of a citywide power outage. The team used its new E-Team Resource Request Form system to add speed and transparency to the process. The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate the Logistics Center’s Resource Request process and to highlight the best practices and lessons learned during the exercise.

A team of seven players and three evaluators from the Logistics, Administration & Finance, and MIS units processed requests in the logistics center while ten exercise controllers from the Training and Exercises, Urban Seach & Rescue, and Planning units played the roles of various city agencies and organizations in distress in the simulation cell. At the end of the three hour exercise, evaluators met to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the system and made suggestions for a written after action report. The report will be used to determine what changes should be made to the resource request process and to conduct future exercises.

The scenario: The City is 24 hours into a citywide power outage. There was a failure within the Power Transmission Grid that feeds into New York City and surrounding areas. On top of the power outage, the forecasted temperature for the day is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The Logistics Center at OEM has been activated, and requests have already been approved and delivered to City agencies as more requests come in. OEM is currently on back-up generator power but has not experienced power issues.

May 2009: OEM Hosts Safe PATH Exercise
On May 17, 2009, the New York City Office of Emergency Management and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey tested the agencies’ response to two simulated explosions in one of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) tunnels in an exercise called Operation Safe PATH 2009.

About 150 OEM Community Emergency Response Team volunteers acted as victims of the explosion. Volunteers were covered with makeup and fake wounds to look like real accident victims in need of emergency care.

More than 800 emergency responders from the New York City Police Department, the Fire Department, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Environmental Protection participated in Operation Safe PATH 2009. The responders evacuated the PATH train and the station and assisted in the treatment and transport of accident victims.

The drill evaluated intelligence and investigation, search and rescue, on-site incident management, and participants' ability to maintain a coordinated inter-agency response to the emergency.

One of the key goals of the exercise was to ensure the safety of unharmed witnesses and the quick assistance of injured people.

Including evaluators, observers, and support staff, more than 1,000 people participated in Operation Safe PATH 2009.
View the press release

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