The Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) fire department recently conducted an evacuation drill in cooperation with Montgomery County and the National Institute of Health (NIH) fire departments, during the HURREX/Citadel Gale exercise.
An adverse weather exercise, HURREX tests an installation’s ability to prepare for and respond to a hurricane. The exercise simulated a scenario in which a hurricane damaged Building 62, the wounded warrior barracks, which resulted in an evacuation.
Throughout the HURREX exercise, NSAB assessed emergency response, cooperation between the installation and local fire departments, and the ability to properly evacuate and account for all personnel.
Building residents were required to gather at pre-designated muster points where fire fighters could account for them. Individuals who were unable to evacuate on their own were instructed to call the emergency phone number 777 and wait for assistance.
In addition to testing the residents, the installation’s emergency management cell was able to test their overall control capabilities and ability to properly monitor all communications during such an event.
Event planners explained the evacuation drill was not a “pass or fail” type of exercise, but part of an ongoing process to ensure overall safety and security on the installation.
“During the planning process, we considered how to make the exercise as realistic as possible, while at the same time causing minimal disruption to the barracks residents,” said Janelle Massiatte, installation training director. “Since this was the first time we’ve done this, we provided advance notice. To increase realism, that may not be the case the next time we do this.”
The installation’s commander said he was in high spirits and pleased with the overall execution of the exercise.
“The cooperation we received from our partner organizations was phenomenal,” said Capt. Frederick Kass, NSAB commanding officer. “I was extremely pleased with how the HURREX drill went. This was the first time we’ve run this type of drill on such a large scale, with outside agencies participating. At the end of the exercise, I was confident that support from the county and the National Institute of Health is just a phone call away.”
In total, 7 fire trucks and more than 45 fire fighters responded to the exercise scene.