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News | July 29, 2016

Search and Rescue

By Sgt. Heidi Kroll 172nd Public Affairs Detachment

A simulated earthquake shook Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, Jericho, Vt., July 29, 2016 as part of Vigilant Guard 2016. This resulted in several downed trees, as well as collapsed bridges and buildings, with individuals and simulated casualties located throughout the scenario. The scenario was set up to test title 10 forces, state, federal and local agencies, emergency responders and nine states with National Guard units.

As a result of the earthquake a house was submerged in water; the only way for the responders to gain entrance was through the roof, once inside they discovered an unconscious casualty.

A Canadian Airman teamed up with soldiers for the New York Air National firefighters, and Massachusetts Task Force 1 members to remove the unconscious individual from the building using a ladder to assist moving the sked back through the hole in the roof.

“It was a great to be able to combine our assets together to complete the mission,” said Sgt. Mark Lewis, team leader, 19th Wing Comox, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Firefighters with the Vermont Air National Guard 158th Fighter Wing worked with FEMA’s Vermont Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue. Members from both teams lined up with pry bars to lift; on the count of three the building was raised and two mannequins’ were recovered from underneath the collapsed building. FEMA’s Vermont Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue called in the air ambulance for a medevac to the hospital.

“This prepares us to work with all entities, local, federal and international to be more cohesive when the need arises,” said Rafael Goyenechea, medical specialist, FEMA’s New York Task Force 1.

There were additional situations all along the road to test the different agencies that were partaking in this lane. One individual was trapped in a culvert so that the search and rescue teams would have to work to extract the mannequin and provide medical aide as needed. Another situation had an individual trapped under a car, the Firefighters from the Vermont Air National Guard 158th Fighter Wing quickly dug under the car, and were able to extract the individual.

“The agencies on this lane handled everything we through at them, we are going to need to be more creative,” said Master Sgt. Michel Morin, range and utilities NCOIC, Garrison Support Command.

There were additional situations all along the road to test the different agencies that were partaking in this lane. Vigilant Guard 2016 is an exercise created to give the over 5000 participants from all of these organizations a training environment where they can train together and build relationships that will be a benefit in a real world situation.
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