LBFD joins in Urban Search and Rescue drill

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Long Beach Urban Search and Rescue participated in a Mobilization Exercise aimed at evaluating and training the response team to handle rescue operations during or following heavy storms.

The drill took place at the Long Beach Fire Training Center and combined two Urban Search and Rescue Regional Task Forces — RTF 2 (Vernon, Downey, Montebello, Santa Fe Springs, and Compton) and RTF 3 (Long Beach) — with air support provided from the United States Coast Guard and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Airship 5. (see photo gallery after the jump)

The drill simulated multiple large debris flows through urban areas with a large life hazard following significant rainstorms.

The two task force’s were dispatched from 3 locations: Port of Long Beach, Downey Studios, and the Long Beach Fire Training Center. Then, the search and rescue teams gathered at the Long Beach Fire Training Center to establish a Base of Operations. Their goal was to achieve a 45-minute assembly/response time.

The goal of the Urban Search and Rescue regional task force is to bridge the gap between when local first responders arrive and the 12-hour minimum response time of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The drill emphasized the abilities of these teams to conduct reconnaissance and search multiple affected areas, both on the ground and from air support, and to prioritize their rescue efforts. Search teams were comprised of Technical Search Specialists, Rescue Specialists, Structural Specialists, K9 Specialists, and Medical Specialists. Once victims were located, they were triaged, extricated (if necessary), and treated for their injuries.

Some victims were located and rescued with the use of search dogs, while others required complex rope systems and even air support to transport them to safety. Interoperability played a key part in the team’s success in completing the complex rescue tasks.

The drill concluded with a critique and will be followed by a formal After Action Report that will detail the objectives of the drill, reinforce the strengths of the teams, and identify areas that can still be improved. In the future, more of these drills will be conducted on an at least annual basis to ensure teams are working at their most efficient and capable levels.

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