More than 500 firefighters and first responders from 10 agencies across Spokane County recently participated in a regional training drill. The drill was designed to simulate a Mass Casualty Incident in which a mock hazardous materials release resulted in injured and contaminated workers.
In addition to the opportunity for crews from multiple agencies to train together, the drill provided hands-on training in gross decontamination (pictured). More than six months of planning for the drill was led by SVFD Captain and Safety Officer Ray Moeckel.
The training drill took place over a nine day period with three simulations per day in two separate locations — Holly Energy Tank Farm (North Spokane County) and Fairchild Air Force Base. Firefighters from Spokane Valley Fire Department, Spokane Fire Department, Airway Heights Fire Department, Fairchild Air Force Base Fire Department and Spokane County Fire Districts #3, #4, #8, #9 and #10 participated along with personnel from AMR and Greater Spokane Emergency Management.
Organized by the Spokane Regional Training Group of the Inland Northwest Fire Chiefs Association, the drill tested a number of objectives. In addition to evaluating interoperability (operational coordination) among responders to a multijurisdictional incident, the exercise tested participant knowledge of the Spokane County Field Operation Guide (FOG) and also measured equipment availability gaps as well as tested Environmental Response/Health and Safety, a core capability. The exercise simulation occurred in a condensed time-frame and contained enough detail to allow players to react to information and situations as they were presented, as if the simulated incident were real.