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Photo Essay: ATFP exercise tests Fightertown emergency responders

By #NAME? | | April 28, 2005

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A brilliantly sunny Lowcountry morning was interrupted with the sound of alarms and horns April 28 as Fightertown’s emergency responders swarmed around Shady Point.Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort’s annual Anti-Terrorism Force Protection exercise tested Fightertown personnel with a mock chemical release at the picnic area.To the responders from the Burton Fire Department, MCAS Beaufort Fire Department and the Air Station’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit, the simulation was a full-speed emergency. A Marine opened a canister containing an unknown chemical, incapacitating himself and nine others.The Fire Department and Provost Marshal’s Office shortly arrived on scene and began investigating the symptoms and source of the chemical while the exercise evaluators circled and noted their every move.The ARFF Marines arrived on the scene and began supporting the fire departments efforts to recover the victims. Shady Point was quickly converted into an emergency response site with Marines and firefighters in chemical-protection suits, fire trucks and ambulances standing ready.Military policemen maintained security at the site while department and unit chiefs oversaw the response from the Emergency Operations Center. The firefighters went through each step of their emergency response plan, until every mock victim had been decontaminated with the help of the ARFF Marines.A mock suspect was apprehended and the simulated victims were released as all the responders finished the exercise and began the clean up. This time the response was real, but the danger was not. All of the Marines and civilians agreed tha people can never know when the real call might come, but they can always be prepared.
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