SAINT ALBANS, WV – From June 1 – 9, Applied Training Solutions, LLC (ATS), assisted with the FEMA Region X Homeland Response Force (HRF) External Evaluation exercise. An HRF is a regionally aligned Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) asset established to support and enhance local, state, and federal emergency managers in response to natural, man-made, or terrorist-initiated CBRN disasters and additional hazards that result in a response under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) construct.  The Region X HRF was one of the first HRFs to be created in 2010. Its units are located across the state of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Each of the 10 HRFs goes through an External Evaluation (EXEVAL) every few of years to ensure the unit’s readiness and ability to respond to disasters in a timely manner.  To exercise each HRF, their higher elements, as well as their subordinate CBRN Enhanced Response Force Packages (CERFPs) and Civil Support Teams (CSTs) for an EXEVAL would become cost prohibitive.  To overcome this challenge, ATS enables the simulation of both higher and lower headquarters, as well as provides the operational environment in which the EXEVAL takes place.

The scenario for this EXEVAL was based around multiple attacks with multiple hazards (radiation, nerve, and blister agents) based in the Portland, OR area.  The WA HRF conducted staff analysis, planning, and execution all while refining operational drills and SOPs during the exercise to improve overall effectiveness of the organization.  The unit was to respond to the 3 contaminants with detection, decontamination, and casualty and fatality assistance.

The exercise participants were the WA HRF and their organic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Task Force, and their Casualty Assistance Support Element (CASE).  Their higher HQ Joint Task Force was simulated, as were other support CBRN units. Participants used the exercise to review response and recovery protocols, plans and capabilities and to realistically assess their overall preparedness in the event of Chemical, Biological and or Nuclear attack, consistent with real world situations in 2022. During the EXEVAL the WA HRF was also able to review orders and requirements from civil authorities to plan a rapid and focused NG response to mitigate human suffering and the loss of life.

The outcome of the event overall was positive, and unit was able to utilize this time to work on best practices and procedures.  The WA HRF and their organic elements are better prepared to respond to natural or man-made disasters in the future.

As a leader in emergency preparedness training and readiness, ATS continues to actively work to deliver innovative, experience-based disaster-preparedness exercises solutions for local, state and federal agencies to protect communities. 

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