NEWS | July 27, 2016

FEMA Taskforce 1 Urban Search and Rescue participates in Vigilant Guard 2016

By Sgt. Heidi Kroll 172nd Public Affairs Detachment

Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Massachusetts Taskforce 1 Urban Search and Rescue, in-processed for Vigilant Guard 2016 at the Cram Dining facility, Camp Ethan Allen Training Site (CEATS), Jericho, Vt., July 27, 2016. Vigilant Guard 2016 has approximately 5000 participants from nine States National Guard units, title ten forces and state, federal and local agencies.

The first step in this process is registering all participants.

“We need to in-process everybody so we can have accountability of everyone who comes to assist us in a disaster. [We need to know] who we are going to be responsible for, in case any issues come up,” said Sgt. 1st Class Louise Fellows, administrative NCOIC, Garrison Support Command, Vermont National Guard. She goes on to say that the information collected at all of the locations is transferred to the Garrison Support Command (GSC) Headquarters for accountability purposes.

Seven Soldiers from GSC are on staff to greet, in-process, and monitor all of the participants at CEATS during Vigilant Guard 2016. With approximately 5000 participants checking in over the course of the exercise, the process needs to move quickly and seamlessly.

“If it is a Vermont Soldier or Airman that is checking in, it only takes a few seconds to scan their identification cards. For other Soldiers or Civilians, it takes around two minutes,” said Warrant Officer Jessi Lasly, administrative OIC, Garrison Support Command.

This is one of many locations at which participants will check in, there is a mobile JRSOI that will travel to different locations throughout the state. With approximately 30 towns involved with this event, it is important to keep accountability at all locations.

After individuals have in-processed, they receive a welcome brief from the Vermont Adjutant General, and then provided information about the training site and additional administrative topics relevant to the exercise.

The first scenario for Vigilant Guard 2016 is a theoretical pneumonic plague outbreak. The participants were briefed on signs, symptoms and reporting procedures for the outbreak. There are several other key events that will take place during this exercise to test the capabilities of all involved in this event.

“We know when the individual out-processes from this station that they have completed this exercise and are on their way home safe and sound,” said Fellows.