National Guard completes training exercise

More than 600 National Guard members from New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico completed a five-day disaster training exercise at the New York State Preparedness Training Center on May 2 to serve as the new Region 2 Homeland Response Force (HRF).

The exercises were designed to evaluate all of the qualifications of the HRF, with members tracking down mock victims in a mock disaster site, decontaminating them, tending to the injuries and evacuating them.

The simulated disaster area consisted of junk vehicles, culverts and concrete slabs. The New Jersey Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry formed a perimeter near the site to aid in decontamination.

The volunteers acting as victims were instructed to act as if they were in severe pain. The New York Army National Guard's Company A, 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion was left in charge of locating and saving mock trapped victims. The victims were transported to a medical area with physicians and nurses who triaged and stabilized the victims.

Due to the ever-changing weather, the troops experienced cold temperatures, rain and high winds. The troops were required to wear protective gear to be safe from the elements.

The successful evaluation means that the troops will be on the first-to-call list if a major disaster occurs in the area.