Arsenal, Q-C firefighters train together|
Firefighters from the Rock Island Arsenal and other fire departments around Quad-Cities recently gathered in East Moline forquarterly training on Blue Card communication techniques
"The Blue Card training standardizes communication and puts everybody on the same page," said Joe Heim, deputy fire chief, Rock Island Arsenal Fire Department. "If everyone talks the same and everybody understands the same, then it makes the incident run smoothly."
"The training is designed to streamline communication and to make big incidents into routine incidents," said Robert G. DeFrance, East Moline fire chief. "All the steps are the same, from a small incident like someone stubbing their toe to the larger-scale events such as a four-story building fire. Everything is the same; everything is streamlined."
According to its website, the Blue Card Incident Commander Training and Certification program, commonly known as Blue Card training, is based on Alan Brunacini's fire command and safety textbooks, which have been used globally in the fire service for more than 30 years.
"The training is normally three consecutive days," said Mr. Heim. "This time we are doing three days of day one, then the next week three days of day two, and the final week three days of day three. Everyone will have an opportunity to train without sacrificing the mission and saving on the budget and manpower."
"Each day is a different type of structure or type of incident," he said. "Day one begins with residential structures, day two commercial buildings and strip malls, and day three big-box buildings. ...
"The training is a communication drill," said Mr. Heim. "It helps limit the amount of people talking and getting the incident to a manageable level. When new units arrive at an incident, they are assigned to a specific staging area, and they answer to whoever is in charge of that area."
Firefighters from the Rock Island Arsenal, East Moline, Moline, Rock Island and Silvis took part of the training.
"We have done this training five times since May 2012," Mr. Heim said. "There is a 50-hour online training program that must be completed before the classroom portion of the training. Once the training is complete, the firefighter receives a three-year certification that can be updated using continuing-education courses. "
"This is great for career enhancement and just making you better at your job," he said. "RIAFD sends all the members of its command staff to this course."
More information about the Blue Card training can be found at bluecardcommand.com/about_01.aspx, training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/is/ICSResource/assets/IncidentTypes.pdf, and in.gov/dhs/files/nimstngart.pdf.
-- Submitted by Anthony R. Mayne, USAG-Rock Island Arsenal Public Affairs
Training sharpens local firefighters' skill sets
Firefighters from the Rock Island Arsenal and other local fire departments practiced confined-spaces rescue techniques at the Arsenal foundry on July 11.
The confined-spaces training took place in a pit underneath the foundry's mold-shake-out machine at the Arsenal's Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, the only multi-purpose and vertically integrated metal manufacturer in the Department of Defense.
All participating firefighters were members of the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System 43, consisting of fire departments from the Arsenal, Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Bettendorf and the Quad Cities International Airport. Each fire department has a fire team mutual-aid company and another fire department that it supports if necessary.
"Once every quarter we (MABAS 43 fire departments) get together for different training," said Steve Fry, firefighter/paramedic with the Arsenal fire department. "This quarter is our confined-spaces training. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration require that everyone has to go through the training, even if you are on a rescue team."
"The training today is a scenario that a worker is hurt and is in there (underneath the machine)," said Mr. Fry. "They (the firefighters) have to go in and package him up safely, bring the worker out so they can be treated and sent to the hospital. That is all that they are given. It is up to them on how to do it. We told them they could only enter and exit from one side. We did this to make it more challenging, and in confined spaces, there is limited access and limited egress."
Firefighters work long shifts, with many on duty for 10 to 12 hours or more. Even while they are training, they are ready to transition from practice into a real-world situation. During this training session, a couple of the firefighters had to leave to respond to a fire in the Quad-Cities community.
"Next quarter's training has yet to be determined," Mr. Fry said. "Hazardous-material training was last quarter; there is high-angle rescue, confined spaces, trench and HAZMAT training ... all things that MABAS 43 responders are constantly drilling on to ensure their competence and readiness."
"Last month was trench training," he said. "They actually dug a trench at the East Moline fairgrounds and entered it to complete a rescue. It is really labor-intensive and takes a long time. It is worth it to get the good training."
Angel Mojica, RIA-JMTC Safety, was on hand to serve as the liaison for the training firefighters and to ensure compliance of the foundry's safety measures.
-- Submitted by Anthony R. Mayne, USAG-Rock Island Arsenal Public Affairs
First Army conducts 'Super Bowl' of training
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kansas – Members of the California Army National Guard's 40th Infantry Division recently lead coalition forces in a training exercise at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., that pitted five Army National Guard brigades and one Army Reserve brigade against the fictitiousAtropian Army.
The epic battle in the fictitious country of Atropia played out for nine days on the largest stage the U.S. Army offers for command exercises at Fort Leavenworth's Mission Training Complex. It was the third and largest training exercise conducted since 9/11. The training audience of 1,935 soldiers from seven states was matched by nearly 2,000 training support staffers.
"This is the 'Super Bowl' of exercises, and it's the largest that most Guard and Reserve soldiers will ever see," according to David Ruggere, First Army exercise specialist. First Army, which is headquartered at the Rock Island Arsenal, plays a significant role in exercises at the Mission Training Complex and other training sites, such as the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center.
In this training, the battle is directed by both the training audience and the Mission Command Training Program. The program employs a list of scenarios to drive the simulated battle.
Units must maneuver their forces to the proper place on the battlefield and follow all proper rules of engagement for combat. Every action must follow procedure, and all of it is meticulously observed and documented by trainers and the training audiences' senior mentors.
Overseeing every aspect of the exercise and the battle is the exercise director. For this exercise, that responsibility was held by Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr., commanding general of First Army Division West.
Maj. Gen. Phipps said he liked what he saw. "What impressed me the most with all these respective units is their energy and willingness to learn," he said. "They are staying strong and positive throughout this challenging exercise."
-- Submitted by Sgt. Maj. Steven Wolf, HQ, First Army
First Army mentors offer mission-command training
CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – During a recent training exercise, 205th Infantry Brigade trainers/mentors worked with headquarters' staff elements to practice mission-command processes. While First Army trainers/mentors have traditionally focused on soldier and unit-level training, they recently expanded their training lens to include mission-command work.
The 205th Infantry Brigade reports to First Army Division East, a division of First Army Headquarters, which is based on the Rock Island Arsenal.
First Army mobilizes, trains, validates, deploys and demobilizes all Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve forces throughout the continental United States, providing trained and ready forces for diverse missions worldwide.
"It's different for a headquarters. How do you take all that information, distill it down to what is really important, share and action it efficiently and effectively as possible?" asked Lt. Col. Aaron West, commander of the 1-290th Field Artillery Battalion, 205th Infantry Brigade, Camp Atterbury, Ind. "Time is ticking. The knowledge required to send orders that integrate and synchronize elements over wide distances must be gathered quickly so that these supporting forces can help relieve human suffering as soon as possible."
There are plenty of experts are on the ground to mentor soldiers on how to triage, treat and evacuate citizens during a catastrophic incident, added Lt. Col. West. However, there are few who can mentor a headquarters staff on how to do mission-command processes.
"Company-level leadership is more direct, because the people they lead are typically within arms' reach. However, commanders and their staffs at the battalion level and above are organizational leaders," said Lt. Col. West, a trainer/mentor for the 31st Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Brigade, Alabama National Guard, during the recent Vibrant Response exercise. "That means they are responsible for integrating and synchronizing a large number of elements: soldiers, CBRN units, first responders, who are expected to come together at the right place and time. It's very complex."
Lt. Col. Brian Naugher, 31st CBRN chief of staff, agreed the key to success is being able to accurately and timely process information.
"The trainers/mentors helped us identify some areas in our processes that could be more efficient, specifically helping us paint a better picture for the commander of the units, which he may not be familiar with and that may be attached to us during a CBRN response," Lt. Col. Naugher said. "In any job, intimately knowing one's duties and being able to integrate into the rest of the team in a workplace is vital. Even though this staff is a tight-knit group and we have worked together closely for months, we still had room for improvement."
One of those areas was how valuable the public-affairs officer is in the operation process.
"One of the most important parts of this type of mission is being able to properly inform people how to find the help they need," Lt. Col. Naugher said. "The PAO ensures that this message is being disseminated to the widest possible extent."
Maj. Chad Daniels, another trainer/mentor during the exercise, said it's not surprising more Reserve-component units are turning to First Army to assist them in maintaining their readiness.
"It's important to stay committed to our communities by maintainingrapidly employable forces for governors and Northern Command in support of homeland missions," he said. "Many of them have deployed over the last decade and have maintained and improved on lessons learned from mobilizations and deployments. However, all of us -- whether National Guard or Active duty-- need that outside agent to take an unbiased look at how we operate."
-- Submitted byCapt. Olivia Cobiskey, 205th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs
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