BETHANY BEACH, Delaware --
More than 40 Air National Guard emergency management specialists participated in an emergency management training exercise June 21-28.
Comprised of Air National Guardsmen from the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the Region-3 EMT tested emergency managers' knowledge, preparedness, and responsiveness in the event of a regional disaster.
"For the first time, we've brought emergency managers from the different parts of the region to train in multiple areas including all-terrain vehicle training, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense training, and response training to simulate realistic scenarios," said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Petrush, 175th Wing Emergency Management Flight Chief, Maryland ANG. "It gives us a chance to work together in a location that is central to the different units in Region-3 and ensures we are prepared in the event of a real-world situation.
The exercise originated when the ANG placed each emergency management flight into a region similar to the process used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As multiple ANG units received the Mobile Emergency Operations Centers, the decision was made to create an atmosphere in which the emergency managers could not only use the MEOCs in a hands-on environment, but also train in other areas while building camaraderie among those in the emergency management career field.
"We've learned a great deal here and also had some team building events which really helps us get to know each other," said Master Sgt. Noah Flick, 113th Wing Emergency Management Flight Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, DCANG. "We get a chance to learn from each other and it's been great being here with everyone."
Other parts of the exercise included emergency evacuation procedures and a "Hazmat Rodeo" in which teams of three or four individuals were randomly selected to work together through different stations dealing with unknown materials identification, materials transfer, manual dexterity, and emergency transport. Each of the seven teams had to pass each station before moving onto the next. The exercise was deemed so successful and useful for emergency management specialists that planning is already underway for the next exercise.
"It's taken several years to get to this spot but we're glad we are doing this and it's helping us identify what areas we need to work on to be better prepared for the future," said Senior Master Sgt. Bill Liston, 113th Emergency Management Flight Superintendent. "I'm looking forward to working with everyone again."