Brick Township played host to a dozen police, fire and EMS agencies last weekend in a training exercise dubbed “Operation Chaos,” which simulated a multi-agency response to a disastrous scenario.
The exercise was held Sunday at the Fire Training Academy on Herbertsville Road. Indeed, as the name implies, the training was based around a chaotic scene, in which there was a large propane tank fire, multiple overturned motor vehicles with victims inside, an overturned school bus with victims inside, an open field search for victims, and a large debris field. There was also a simulated structure rescue, all while live wires were on the ground and victims needed to be extricated. More than 80 first responders took part.
“The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate players’ actions against current response plans and capabilities responding to a weather-related emergency in Ocean County,” Brick Township EMS Director Rob Contreras, who developed the drill with Manchester EMS Director Rob Baran.
The drill began at approximately 8:30 a.m. Sunday and lasted for over two hours. Fire and EMS personnel worked together to extricate wounded victims from vehicles while dealing with live fires, smoke and live wires on the ground. Victims were triaged, treated and rehabbed as each circumstance dictated. Special equipment was used, such as a Mass Care Response Unit and an Alternative Support Apparatus all-terrain vehicle. Players utilized the Incident Command System to organize the response, which is the same system utilized for emergency response throughout the country.
The entire company of players was debriefed by the incident commanders, and several participants shared their insights and lessons from running such an elaborate drill after it was completed, said Brick Police Sgt. Jim Kelly.
The drill was observed by Chief James Riccio, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Joe Pawlowicz, the Brick Township Safety Officer Ron Gaskill, and the Brick Township Fire Bureau.
“Everyone did a great job,” said Riccio. “Drills like this are important to help to identify areas where we can do better and prepare for emergencies when they really happen. It was good to see all these agencies coming together and working as a team.”
The drill included:
- Manchester Township EMS
- Jackson Township EMS
- Lakewood Township EMS
- Berkeley Township EMS
- Ocean County EMS Coordinators
- Brick Township Office of Emergency Management
- Brick Township Fire Bureau
- Herbertsville Fire Company
- Laurelton Fire Company
- Pioneer Hose Fire Company
- Brick Township Police
- Brick Township EMS