CERFP Exercise "Hurricane Igor"
By Staff Sgt. Kerri Cole, 102nd Intelligence Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 13, 2010
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- On Sept. 11, members of the Massachusetts Air and Army National Guard gathered at Camp Edwards, Mass., for a two-day exercise that is part of the state's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).
The Massachusetts CERFP is composed of various Army and Air Guard units from throughout the state responsible for quick reaction to potential terrorist, natural or man-made disasters that may occur in Massachusetts or New England.
"Our job is to go anywhere in the country and provide medical support and be ready within six hours of the call," said Lt. Col. Bruno Zeneski, CERFP officer-in-charge.
The exercise put the medical group personnel through a simulated "Hurricane Igor" which caused simulated massive destruction, collapsed buildings and trapped victims in the Cape Cod area.
During the scenarios, personnel were evaluated on their preparedness to respond to a wide range of medical issues including physical injury caused by collapsing structures, stress related issues, radiation exposure and radiological, chemical, or biological contamination. Other components of the CERFP provide local responders with enhanced search capability of damaged buildings, rescue trapped casualties, and provide decontamination solutions and procedures.
The CERFP is composed of four elements: search and extraction; decontamination; medical; and command and control. The CERFP command and control team directs the overall activities of the CERFP and coordinates with the Joint Task Force - State and the Incident Commander. The CERFP search and extraction element mission is assigned to an Army National Guard Engineering Battalion, the decontamination element mission is assigned to an Army National Guard Chemical Battalion, and the medical element mission is assigned to an Air National Guard Medical Group. The security duties are performed by the state National Guard Quick Response Force.
"We train to support civil authorities and it's good for the Army and Air Force to work together and understand how operations work on both sides. We are truly going into the 'Purple' aspect of the military with this exercise," said Master Sgt. Jason Russell, CERFP NCO-in-charge.
The initial establishment of CERFPs placed at least one in each FEMA Region. There are currently 14 validated CERFPs. When an incident occurs within a team's response area, they are alerted through their State Headquarters and mobilized on State Active Duty. If the incident is located within their state, they would proceed to the incident when directed by their Joint Force Headquarters.