World's Largest Bomb Squad Training Exercise Brings Local, State, Federal and International Bomb Squads to Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany
Governor Cuomo today announced that the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany is hosting the 2019 Raven's Challenge, the world's largest training event for bomb squads and military explosive ordnance disposal teams. The annual event, held in four locations around the country, trains bomb technicians on how to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices to keep the public safe. This year's exercise will feature bomb squads from around the northeast, Canada and Europe.
"Public safety is our top priority, and it is critical that our first responders have access to the highest quality exercises and trainings available," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is proud to once again host the Raven's Challenge, and to welcome first responders and law enforcement from across the globe to our world-class preparedness training center right here in the Mohawk Valley."
Led by the United States' Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Center for Explosives Training and Research, the 2019 Raven's Challenge runs at four locations throughout the U.S. from March 10 to June 14. In addition to holding the event at New York's State Preparedness Training Center for the third time, exercises are also being held in Colorado, Florida and Indiana. During the week-long exercise, teams participate in scenario-based exercises developed with the current threat environment in mind.
During the Raven's Challenge, more than 100 bomb technicians from various law enforcement and military entities participate in scenario-based training, including a dignitary protection sweep coordinated by the United States Secret Service, a situation involving a 3D printed grenade that can be dropped by a drone or projected by a tube, and a courthouse checkpoint scene involving an explosive device uncovered during an X-ray.
"The Raven's Challenge provides invaluable training to the bomb technicians that have dedicated their lives to protecting their communities and there is no better place in the nation to hold such an exercise than New York's State Preparedness Training Center," said Patrick A. Murphy, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. "I would like to thank our federal partners for not only choosing New York to host this event once again, but for sharing their knowledge and best practices on how to combat the threat of new and emerging tactics used by those seeking to do harm."
"The long-standing partnership between the State of New York and the ATF led Raven's Challenge program will reunite for the third time in five years and will produce fantastic results," said John Simpson, program manager, Raven's Challenge Interoperability Exercise, ATF. "The exercise at the State Preparedness Training Center, the second venue of the year, is completely full and is a barometer for the demand for this type of advanced training among bomb technicians."
The Raven's Challenge began in 2004 as an ATF-led training exercise for both military explosive ordnance disposal team and public safety bomb squads in Seattle. Over the years, the exercise has matured into what is now the largest training exercise in the world for explosive ordnance disposal teams and bomb squads. The Raven's Challenge is funded by the U.S. Army and coordinated by the ATF and partner agencies including the U.S Army, United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
About the State Preparedness Training Center
Operated by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the State Preparedness Training Center's vast array of training venues give bomb squad and canine teams an opportunity to train in realistic environments. Located on 1,100 acres, the State Preparedness Training Center's training venues include a 45,000-square foot simulated city, a residential housing complex, collapsed building rubble pile, woodland structures, train cars and other settings. Now in its 13th year, the State Preparedness Training Center annually trains thousands of New York's first responders including law enforcement, emergency medical services and technical rescue personnel.
About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.