10/7/2009 12:00 AM
New joint training exercises conducted at TEEX's Emergency Operations Training Center have further enhanced the center's national reputation for emergency management training that mirrors real life. The recent addition of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) course and the capability of holding joint exercises between the EOC and the Incident Command Post have improved the training for both groups of participants, said EOTC Training Director Keith Stephens.
Recently, the first joint exercise was held - a mock explosion of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device at the Bayview Convention Center. When the 46 participants in the Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command course called the Emergency Operations Center for resources to deal with the incident, the calls were answered by 43 San Francisco responders attending a jurisdictional EOC course in another part of the building.
"This was the first time we've had both classes running the same exercise and this made it much more realistic and real-world," said Stephens, of TEEX's National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. "When participants in the Incident Command Post called to ask for resources, they were calling students in the EOC class next door instead of our TEEX role-players. Being able to do this was one of our goals for expanding the EOTC facility last year. The next step is to have the ICP support an actual event at the Brayton Fire Field or Disaster City®."
Participants applauded the joint exercise. "Using the class in the EOC made (our Enhanced IM/UC) class that much more realistic," said Lt. Lee Cheney of the Allenstown, NH, Fire Department. "It was nice being able to talk to another person, request an item, and actually having to wait real time for it to arrive. Using the EOC as part of the course I feel should be added every Thursday to help everyone get the feeling of real time."
Assistant Chief Steve Dossett of the Richardson, TX, Fire Department agreed: "I have attended many courses and programs dealing with Incident Management. I can honestly say that this course, the Enhanced IM/UC course in College Station was the best class I have ever taken. The course takes everything you learn about incident management/command post and puts it together in real-life scenarios.
"On Thursday afternoon of the course, we were faced with a complicated scenario. With the two classes interacting together, it provided the best realistic scenario we could be faced with. In a teaching environment, the more realism in the scenarios, the more the student will bring away from the class. This is what the Enhanced IM/UC provided - a great learning experience!"