BRICK – Fortunately, it was only a drill.
There was a propane tank fire, live wires on the ground, multiple overturned vehicles – including a school bus – with people inside, and the need to search for victims in buildings and a large field.
“Operation Total Chaos” was a disaster preparedness drill developed by Brick Township EMS Director Rob Contreras and Manchester EMS Director Rob Baran. It took place at the Fire Training Academy on Herbertsville Road.
“The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate players’ actions against current response plans and capabilities responding to a weather-related emergency in Ocean County,” said Director Contreras.
During the two-hour drill, fire and EMS personnel worked together to extricate wounded victims, while dealing with live wires, fires, and smoke conditions. Victims were triaged, treated, and rehabbed as needed. Vehicles and special equipment were brought into play.
“Everyone did a fantastic job, and thank you to Dr. Ken Lavelle, our Medical Director for attending the exercise and overseeing the health and safety of our participants. Through this exercise we were able to identify areas where we can improve, such as interagency communications and triaging victims,” Contreras said.
There were approximately 80 participants, including those playing roles. The following agencies took part: Manchester Township EMS, Jackson Township EMS, Lakewood Township EMS, Berkeley Township EMS, Ocean County EMS Coordinators, Brick Township Office of Emergency Management, Brick Township Fire Bureau, Herbertsville Fire Company, Laurelton Fire Company, Pioneer Hose Fire Company, Brick Township Police, and Brick Township EMS.
The drill was observed by Chief James Riccio, Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Joe Pawlowicz, the Brick Township Safety Officer Ron Gaskill, and the Brick Township Fire Bureau.
“Everyone did a great job. Drills like this are important to help to identify areas where we can do better and prepare for emergencies when they really happen. It was good to see all these agencies coming together and working as a team,” Riccio said.