In recent years, much attention and funding has been aimed at increasing the operational capabilities of first response organizations when confronted by CBRNE incidents.  However, when examining both actual events and exercises there seems to be a recurring pattern across the response spectrum of confusion and similiar mistakes regarding first response organizations recognition of a CBRNE event and the unique hazards associated with these events.  How has your department trained to meet these unique hazards?  Are you comfortable with your department's capabilities regarding CBRNE response?

 

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With all the grant money being thrown around, for the last several years we have received so much equipment to be put on a Heavy MCI squad, we had to train on it constantly. This has slowed down over the last year... It is hard to keep up on training for the "big" event.
Over the past several years we have updated to the latest Govt. equipment and had drills on putting up Medical care points and decon areas.
Last June we had a big CBRNE drill/familization. With 7 area Heavy Squads, we had a big wharehouse that we set up a full medical care point hospital. All the squads were opened to all the surrounding agencies so that we could compare equipment and see how other departments carried their gear. It was a big drill to coordinate all agencies and was done through our Tri-County EMS Coordinator, and paid for by FEMA I believe.
Each of the squads is unique speced out by each agency. If my memory recalls, two are haz-mat rigs, one is for hi-rise response and marine firefighting, two set up for MCI's, one technical rescue and I don't remember how the other was set up.
One of the things we know is in a real CBRNE event, it will be chaotic, but we are better prepared now than before Sep 11th 2001, so I suppose that is a good thing. It is sad that it took the events of 9-11 to realize we needed to have capabilities to set up field hospitals, and where and how to set up for a communications failure of the 800mhz and cell towers.
I think that knowing all the area squads carry close to the same WMD equipment and we can work in a mutual aid situation anywhere in the area/state.



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