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MCLB Albany conducts full-scale Exercise Black Swan 2016

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | April 26, 2016

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Simulated explosive devices detonated aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany replicating mass casualties, a collapsed structure and loss of utilities during Exercise Black Swan 2016, here, April 12 and 13.

During the mock explosion, fake smoke filled a barracks’ hallways and rooms, making it difficult for MCLB Albany firefighters to see as they searched for role players portraying injured victims.  

Simultaneously, firefighters combed through the debris removing furniture from around the simulated wounded victims while the MCLB Albany’s police officers protected the perimeter of the scene. Firefighters then moved victims to a mock triage set up outside the building where medical teams from the Naval Branch Health Clinic-Albany and Lee and Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services were waiting to assist.

Steve Dancer, installation emergency manager, MCLB Albany, said every installation in the Marine Corps is required to do an annual training exercise.

“Exercise Black Swan 2016 is a full-scale exercise designed to help identify gaps in supporting response plans and to demonstrate the importance of interdepartmental and interagency coordination and mutual-aid agreements with the local community,” Dancer said. “Overall the exercise was a huge success.  Multiple agencies were able to work together through a complex incident and identify areas that we need to improve upon and areas that we demonstrated strength in.

“Our success is a more resilient community because of the teamwork demonstrated between the multiple agencies that participated in this exercise,” he concluded.

Marcus McAllister, all-hazards planner, Regional Exercise Team East, Marine Corps Installations Command, was one of several evaluators to assess the exercise.

“Realism is important, because they will have an opportunity to experience what they would see in a real, live event,” McAllister said. “The exercise is not so much how firefighters extricate somebody from a building or how they do triage on a patient, it is more about the (flow of) information process.”

He said it starts with the incident commander then it trickles down to the first responder, emergency operations center and then to the commander.

“(They have to) make sure the right information is getting to the right people to make the right decisions to support the incident as quickly as possible,” he added. “The exercise is not only about the capability to respond to a large-scale mass casualty incident but also work with their mutual-aid partners so they can support the installation (if needed).”

Phillip Partin, fire chief, MCLB Albany, evaluated his firefighters during the exercise.

“We want to test our capabilities to make sure if this actually does happen that we're able to do our job and function properly,” Partin said. “When we do it as an exercise, we find weakness and strengths. We (work) on the weaknesses and (build) on the strengths (so) we can provide better care for the people aboard the installation.”

Partin stated the two-day exercise was a great experience for his firefighters as it provided another opportunity to continue to strengthen their relationship with local and federal agencies.

Local and federal agencies involved in the exercise include the Albany Police Department, Albany Fire Department, Lee and Dougherty County Emergency Medical Services, the city of Albany/Dougherty County Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Bureau Investigation Explosive Disposal Unit, Georgia Search and Rescue Team Task Force II, Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Department of Homeland Security Explosive K9 Teams, and Federal Bureau of Investigation/Joint Terrorism Task Force.

 


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