Story by MAJ Ryan Donald on 12/12/2016NEW YORK -- The 59th Hazard Response Company conducted its Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF) sustainment training with the New York City Fire Department Hazardous Material Team from Nov. 28 - Dec. 2.
The training took place at two main locations, the New York Fire Department Training Division's Facility- in New York City and at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, and the main task of the training was to test the concept of handing over the Community Reception Center between the New York Fire Department and the 59th CBRN Company on Dec. 1.
"This was the biggest training objective, to integrate with the incident command structure and then operate the Community Reception Center," said Capt. Derek Burke, commander, 59th Hazard Response Company, Fort Drum, NY.
Before this task, the 59th Hazard Response Company, a subordinate unit of the 20th CBRNE Command, went through a series of familiarization exercises at the New York Fire Department Training Division's Facilities, which has a replica of a portion of the New York City subway. The Soldiers also conducted a site survey of high-risk targets in New York to understand better the environment they may have to work in, if civil authorities request federal support.
"We're working in conjunction with the U.S. Army, preparing their members to use FDNY equipment and familiarize themselves with our operations," said FDNY Deputy Chief Nicholas Del Re, who led the 5-day joint training. "In the case that federal assets are activated, Army personnel can support our operations and take over during prolonged incidents so that our members can go back to protecting the City from fires and emergencies."
According to Del Re they are preparing for a radiological dispersion device or an improvised nuclear device could go off, in where 800,000 to 1 million New York citizens might be concerned about being contaminated during the terrorist attack.
That is when the community reception centers come into play at Fort Hamilton. The training scenario was following the terrorist attack in which city first responders were overwhelmed forcing them to request assistance from the federal government.
At these reception centers, concerned citizens can go to be screened, and if need be, be decontaminated.
"The missions of the military and the fire department has never been closer; what we have learned from the 59th is immeasurable," said Daniel Nigro, New York City Fire Commissioner. "The work they do is at the highest level of importance in this country, and it is what we do, taking care of people in this country by keeping them safe."
At Fort Hamilton, the 59th CBRN Company exercised its ability to properly conduct a handover of operations with the New York City Fire Department at one of six Community Reception Centers and conduct a screening of the public arriving at the center. This handover is designed to allow the fire department to return to its primary mission of ensuring the safety of the citizens of New York.
The Community Reception Center is designed to provide an area for the public to proceed to for CBRN screening if they believe they were exposed to anything during a CBRN event. Prior to this, the idea was to keep the public at the incident site.