A few years ago, several local fire departments teamed up with the Multnomah County EMS Medical Director to further develop regional plans and acquire response resources capable of mitigating large scale natural disasters, hazardous material, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) events.
With assistance from the Homeland Security Grant Program, six CBRNE Heavy Squads were purchased, equipped, and placed strategically around the region. CBRNE Heavy Squads are large fire apparatus that carry specialized CBRNE response equipment.
On April 19th, 20th, and 21st, Portland Fire & Rescue’s Station 18 and Station 24 firefighters participated in a region-wide Spring 2010 CBRNE Heavy Squad Drill hosted by the Port of Portland. Six Heavy Squad Teams were brought together primarily to review basic response concepts, medical care point deployment, and equipment familiarization.
Six heavy squads from around the region participated in this drill. They included:
- Clackamas County Fire & Rescue Squad 5
- Gresham Fire Department Squad 72
- Portland Airport Fire & Rescue Squad 881
- Portland Fire & Rescue Squad 24
- Portland Fire & Rescue Squad 18
- Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Squad 66
While the six Heavy Squads have a similar cash of CBRNE response equipment, each squad carries a unique cash of equipment that is specific to a response specialty. For example, Squad 24 located in North Portland is specially equipped with gear and equipment to respond to marine emergencies. Squad 72 located in Gresham has specialty equipment for confined space/rope rescue emergencies. In the event of a major CBRNE incident in the region, these squads would be tasked to respond and work together to deploy resources such as emergency VHF communications, medical care points, CBRNE detection equipment, and emergency decontamination sites.
During the three-day drill, the Heavy Squad teams worked alongside one another to familiarize themselves with newly acquired emergency medical equipment, set up fully functional medical care points (including tents, generators, lights, heaters, and medical equipment) and understand how to best utilize VHF Repeater communication equipment.
April 22, 2010