Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fairfax County CERT at Capitol Shield 2012-More Rock, Less Talk was the order of the day........

Hi folks,
On Tuesday October 18th and Wednesday October 19th, a number of your fellow Fairfax County CERT brothers and sisters participated in something wonderful.......
The "wonderful" was the Capitol Shield 2012 exercise, held at the old Lorton youth prison in Lorton, VA. The prison grounds were the scene of a massive disaster (exercise). A (simulated)hurricane hit taking out all of the power and all fuel storage areas in the area; leaving roads inaccesable and the population totally unruly. School shootings occured; a shooter was loose on the US Capitol grounds; and a local area hospital was (virtually) leveled in a giant bomb blast. Four more (simulated but dirty) bombs went off in areas around the DC region; and anthrax was (virtually) released. Professional response activities were completely overwhelmed..........Sounds like a disaster, right?
It was-so who was "called out" to assist?
Why, Fairfax County CERT of course! A number of your CERT brothers and sisters integrated into disaster response operations with a number of different federal, state and county agencies. We rescued upwards of 200 victims each day of the two days of the exercise-from ALL OVER the Lorton complex-we helped with getting patients to decontamination stations; the Navy deconned them and then we rushed them to medical. On Tuesday we and our Montgomery Co. CERT counterparts were the only coordinated medical response team for the Lorton field training exercise. We worked as both victims and responders on Tuesday.

On Wednesday we were purely rescuers-with rescue responsibility for the southern half of the Lorton complex. We integrated into military medical assets on site, and helped with loading the medevac helicopters and AMBuses taking wounded to DC area regional hospitals.

We had an AWESOME time, folks. So good the attendees are still talking about it. We worked side by side with units and agencies we had not worked with before-we helped in duties and functions that were new (and exciting!) to us. We had a BLAST folks; here are some of the highlights-

Mark D, our Tuesday "mental case Green"-who taught our CERT counterparts to the north some very "interesting" lessons in keeping an eye on your patients :) At one point he arranged the green victims in medical from shortest to tallest height-THAT was entertaining! And then taking over med ops and running it so efficiently that with each evolution-our other CERT counterparts began emulating our medical activities. They started wearing gloves, they started doing head to toe assessments in the medical area......

Kong-leaping like a gazelle to take care of his victims. All you saw was arms legs and duct tape.... This man was FAST......If there ever was a speed bandage competition Kong would win it!

All of us who moulaged victims at 530am in the dark using a car's headlights. (Because they were dropped off early-but we took care of it and got the job done.....) and our MD CERT counterparts who showed up (both days) at 0645, when the job was almost done. Good timing folks........

Scott, our on site IC who NEVER broke a sweat even while being pounded with command decisions from all sides. Not once did the man sweat......

Our CERT helo evac litter team, loading choppers with wounded like they had done it all their lives.And the Air Force medics; who genuinely enjoyed having us help them.

James and his team; searching one side of a large building while CBIRF troops in spacesuits were clearing the other side of the building for safe entry.

The teams that searched behind the rubble pile-seemingly a half mile away from the CP. And toted victims back to medical from that distance. WOW.

ALL of the people on ALL of our CERT teams-going 100% on PPE use on both days! You ROCK!!!!We had one scraped arm the entire two days of the exercise.

Judy giving her duct tape desk to the navy medics in the med collection point-and seeing that OUR duct tape victim tags were used by the medics.

The military medics who came up and asked to borrow a roll of duct tape-to make up med station triage tags because they had run out of their own preprinted ones............

The reporter who asked "what station" our "unit" was located-and being shocked to find out we were only citizens.

The smiles on everyone's faces ........

Mary, one of our participants summed it up best-see below.

We ain't pretty, but we get it done........
Integration w/ Army teams
integration with Air force teams
integration with other CERT teams (tried shared and separate command, ditto for teams)
ambus loading
Decon escort duty
Evac helo litter work
Duct tape bonding (literally!) with USAF/ medical folks
triage/ treatment on day 1 - no show for JTF CAPMED - just us CERTs
moulage = record setting... bus loads of vics.... in the dark... at warp speeds
rubble pile search and rescue (in up and over)
large team practice - alpha, beta etc
FC CERTs trying new roles / switching around /SEMPER GUMBY!
new mud record clinging to us
vehicle extraction duties on Wednesday.

Thanks to all who responded-it was an honor and a pleasure to serve with each of you. And we HAVE been enthusiastically invited back to respond in Capitol Shield next year!
Pictures are available for viewing at the following link.

Terry,Scott and Rich
Capitol Shield 2012 leadership team