Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than 600 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will take part in special training to improve their emergency preparedness skills. The training takes place from April 28 to May 2 at the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.
Building a stronger and safer New York starts with being prepared to face future emergencies, Governor Cuomo said. This training exercise will help ensure the men and women of the National Guard who have stepped up for our State on countless occasions have the skills and experience necessary to protect New Yorkers in a disaster.
The Department of Defense picked the New York National Guard as one of ten units to assist state officials and local responders as a certified Homeland Response Force (HRF). The HRF program is designed to help in dealing with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents across the U.S. This highly skilled and trained HRF will be responsible for supporting the New York and New Jersey regions for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Among the many scenarios the Guard members may experience during next weeks training is a train accident that results in hazardous material spills that create casualties and threaten communities near the site. The Soldiers and Airmen will train on searching for and extracting victims while wearing hazardous materials suits, decontaminate those victims if needed, and conduct basic medical triage to assist first responders and health officials.
HRF exercises like this one provide an opportunity for state emergency managers and local first responders to practice working with the National Guard and other military forces. These training exercises also give local emergency responders a chance to hone their own skills and a chance to refine local plans for dealing with chemical, biological and radiological emergencies.
There is one National Guard HRF in each of the 10 FEMA regions. The New York National Guard-led HRF supports Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island as well as state and local governments in New York and New Jersey.
The New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be joined by an additional 200 Soldiers and Airmen from the New Jersey and Puerto Rico National Guard as they validate their response capabilities during the exercise.
The major units that comprise the HRF include:
- The 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters, based in Syracuse, N.Y. which contributes to overall command and control of the organization.
- The 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Headquarters, based in Niagara Falls, N.Y., which provides command of the CBRN response elements at the incident site.
- Engineers of Company A, 427th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, located in Rochester, N.Y., which train for the extraction and evacuation of casualties.
- Troop A, 2-101st Cavalry, based in Geneva, N.Y., which operates the decontamination element.
- The five Wings of the New York Air National Guard contribute medical personnel for the triage and transfer of casualties for civilian medical treatment.
- Security personnel from the New Jersey National Guard include members of the 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry from Riverdale, N.J. as the HRF CBRN Assistance and Support Element.
This special training supports Governor Cuomos Executive Order 125 (EO 125), issued on January 28, which directs the NYS Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Transportation (DOT), Health (DOH), the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DSHES), and NYSERDA to review and report on the States preparedness to prevent and respond to accidents involving crude oil trains. DEC, DHSES, DOH and DOT will participate as observers in this training to better understand the capabilities of the New York National Guard in responding to hazardous materials railroad incidents. The multi-agency report pursuant to EO 125 is due on April 30.
Imagery of the 2012 validation exercise can be found at the New York National Guard Flickr site, accessible here.
The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services established the training center in 2006. The facility, comprised of 723 acres at the former Oneida County Airport prepares traditional and non-traditional first responders to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters or terrorist-related incidents.