Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
June 29, 2015
Several emergency partners in Tuscaloosa County held exercises in May and June of 2015 to train and practice procedures and skills related to handling emergencies and hazards. This is a small sample of year-round drills and exercises that take place within the Tuscaloosa community.
[caption id="attachment_375" align="alignright" width="300"] Fire and Rescue members practice fire suppression techniques during an exercise.[/caption]
Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Training Exercises
Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue held a series of training exercises at a condemned apartment building over the course of May and June, 2015. The exercises started with arson investigation training and a basics tactics refresher course before culminating in a three-day event where firefighters practiced entry and fire suppression during a controlled burn of the building. This last training exercise was made up of multiple sessions each day to give the maximum amount of firefighters the experience while accommodating rotating shifts and personnel. These exercises were conducted without injury and the building will now be demolished. One session of the three-day event had a few guest firefighters including Chief of Police Steven Anderson and Captain Randy Vaughn of the Tuscaloosa Police Department who suited up and made entry into the burning apartment along with the firefighters.
[caption id="attachment_376" align="alignleft" width="300"] A Shelton State CC student shows off her simulated wounds.[/caption]
Bryce Hospital Annual Emergency Simulation
Yes, it's fake! Shelton State CC nursing students added realism to the disaster exercise. Bryce Hospital held its annual emergency simulation on Friday, June 12, 2015. The simulation covered the facility's plans for a tornado emergency that affected the hospital. The casualties, played by students from Shelton State Community College, were treated by hospital staff as well as participating first responders from Northstar Paramedic Services, including NorthFLIGHT Aeromedical services. For a more realistic touch, moulage (mock injury makeup) was applied to the students to simulate wounds and physical injuries. The simulation dealt with moving patients to an area where they could be treated and transported by first responders, then moving them to a central location once transportation was no longer an option due to hospitals being at capacity within the scenario. Evaluators for the exercise included personnel from the Red Cross, Tuscaloosa County EMA, Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service, and the Alabama Department of Public Health, among others.
[caption id="attachment_374" align="alignright" width="300"] Attendees of the exercise sit and watch a presentation.[/caption]
School Safety Exercise
EMA conducted a tabletop exercise with the City of Tuscaloosa Board of Education, the Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue Service, and the Tuscaloosa Police Department. Over 200 school leaders andparticipants were involved in the day-long exercise held at the Tuscaloosa Career and Technology Academy. The different perspectives were shared by the first responders from Fire and Rescue and law enforcement. School administrators worked to evaluate their school safety plans in light of the scenario presented by EMA. School safety continues to be an ever-evolving challenge requiring close coordination between first responders and school administrators.
[caption id="attachment_373" align="alignleft" width="300"] Participants of the event sit by their radios.[/caption]
Annual American Radio Relay League Field Day
Tuscaloosa-area amateur radio groups participated in a 24-hour field exercise at Northport's Civitan Park on Saturday June 27 through Sunday June 28, 2015. The event, which comes at the end of Amateur Radio Week, is an annual exercise organized by the American Radio Relay League, a national organization of amateur radio clubs in the United States. The focus of the field day is to operate multiple radio stations at once in a simulated emergency scenario. Amateur radio has long provided a backbone of support for emergency services during severe weather emergencies and other disasters.