On May 20 & 21, 2014, FEMA and CalOES tested the USAR system through a multi-team deployment exercise. The 2014 Western Region Multi-Task Force exercise, commonly referred to as the MOBEX (mobilization exercise) Drill, is a real time deployment exercise designed to test the readiness and effectiveness of the US&R response system within our State of California.
Many of California’s elite USAR teams and members have responded across the nation to catastrophic events such as New York City for the 9-11 attacks, the Gulf coast for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, floodings, mudslides and terrorist attacks. The USAR teams are comprised of two 70-member teams of men and women who are trained to conduct search and rescue operations in the most extreme conditions.
The following agencies participated in this year’s drill: CA-TF1 (Los Angeles Fire Department), CA-TF2 (Los Angeles County Fire Department), CA-TF5 (Orange County Fire Authority), CA-TF7 (Sacramento Fire Department), FEMA Incident Support Team (IST), FEMA Main US&R Office Heads, Cal OES (California Office of Emergency Services) Chief Officers, and the LAFD Field Incident Management Team
The 2014 MOBEX Drill formally began with a press conference on May 20, 2014 at Fire Station 88. The drill portion commenced at approximately 10:00 a.m. with a 9-1-1 response to an earthquake scenario that supposedly affected the Los Angeles region, taxing local resources. First responders and US&R personnel were dispatched in real time with escalation procedures according to the State’s Master Mutual Aid System and FEMA’s emergency response procedures.
Disaster exercises were conducted throughout the day, starting at 11:00 am on May 20 and continue until 2:00 p.m. on May 21. This drill took place at four separate locations requiring US&R technical rescue operations: LAFD Fire Station 88, Universal Studios, Castaic Lake and the Del Valle Training Center.
by Eric Scott, PSO