Friday, March 27, 2009

Navy, Army Hold Emergency Response Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Station (NAVSTA) Pearl Harbor's Emergency Operations Center Incident Management Team along with the Hawaii Army National Guard's 93rd Civil Support Team (CST) held a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) exercise on historic Ford Island March 25.

The event was held to help train and assess Naval Security Forces, Federal Fire Department, Emergency Operations Center, and the 93rd CST for preparation in case of real world events.

"It's important to make sure that all personnel involved know how to react to these scenarios in case a real world event does happen," said Ray Toves, exercise director of the event.

Different elements of the drill included manning decontamination stations, conducting tests on the CBRNE agents, among others.

Personnel assigned to NAVSTA Pearl Harbor Security's canine detachment played one of the largest roles in the event, finding multiple CBRNE agents while searching the premises with military working dogs.

"I think that we performed well during the exercise," said Master-At-Arms 2nd Class Jeye Pena, assigned to NAVSTA Pearl Harbor Security's canine detachment. "All of our training with the dogs pays dividends as we found all of the CBRNE agents that were planted."

Having great teamwork between more than 65 personnel was a huge factor in helping the drill run smoothly.

"It's very important for everyone to be on the same page for events like this," said Cmdr. Lawrence Hill, NAVSTA Pearl Harbor's executive officer and training team leader for the drill. "We've had great communication between all of our different stations making the drill run without a hitch."

Toves noted that personnel spend many days planning and training for an event like this.

"Planning an event this large can take range from 90 days to six months," said Toves. "Personnel spend at least two months constantly training for these types of drills."

Ensuring the team would be ready to respond in case of an actual casualty in the area is key to the maritime strategy.

"We train very well here at Pearl Harbor for scenarios like these, and I have complete confidence that we will perform exactly the way we train if an actual casualty does happen," said Hill.