From March 26 to March 28, 2014, members of New York City's Urban Search and Rescue team – New York Task Force 1 (NY-TF1) – participated in the Tacit Shield exercise at the Guardian Center in Perry, Georgia, to test all elements of their response capabilities. The exercise began with a simulated activation order on March 26. NY-TF1 members mobilized at the OEM warehouse in Brooklyn and deployed to the Guardian Center, a state-of-the-art training facility that enables realistic, large-scale disaster response exercises.
While en route, NY-TF1 encountered an actual motor-vehicle accident involving an overturned car on the highway and responded immediately – they safely removed an individual who was pinned beneath a vehicle, provided life-saving emergency care, and assisted the injured individual until local emergency services arrived on scene.
Upon arrival at the Guardian Center, team members were presented with an emergency scenario in which an earthquake had struck a metropolitan area. The simulation tested their ability to respond to a variety of rescue situations including collapsed structures, confined spaces, crushed vehicles, and restricted access points, and required team members to establish priorities while managing these multiple scenarios. Tacit Shield was designed to challenge each of the task force's disciplines – rescue , search, water operations, HAZMAT, medical, communication, canine rescue, and planning – though it focused on NY-TF1's ability to conduct operations in flooding and HAZMAT-contaminated environments.
In total, 96 personnel from NY-TF1 (which is composed of members of NYPD, FDNY, FDNY-EMS, and OEM) attended the event, including 80 participants and 16 controllers. Three other Urban Search and Rescue task forces from New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Virginia also participated in the event.
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