8/28/2012 10:27:00 AM Emergency agencies pleased with outcome of drill
A Central Yavapai firefighter helps a member of the Prescott Area Hazardous Materials Response Team put on his hazmat suit before entering a building in search of hazardous materials Thursday during an interagency drill in Prescott Valley.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw
Lisa Irish Special to the Tribune
Last week, 14 emergency response agencies took part in a domestic terrorism drill at Central Yavapai Regional Training Center in which crises involving hazardous materials, explosive devices, and other scenarios were simulated.
"We had a review of the drill this morning, and it was very positive," Central Yavapai Fire District Battalion Chief Jeff Polacek said Friday. "We had some concerns, and each of our teams found things to improve on."
Some participants did not like the wait time between stages of the drill, but that takes place during a real situation as well, Polacek said.
After SWAT cleared a building, it took a while for the bomb team to give the hazardous material team the go-ahead to enter, Polacek said.
"Anytime we have the opportunity to work with local first responders, that is extremely important and helpful for us," said Lt. Col. Brian Murphy, commander of the Arizona National Guard's 91st Civilian Support Team. "Every opportunity we get to train makes our response to these types of situations that much better."
The drills Tuesday and Thursday featured three scenarios that took place in three different buildings that each agency rotated through.
"The most useful thing was being able to train with other agencies, and see exactly what they do as it unfolds right in front of you, instead of hearing about what they do," Prescott Valley Police Officer Paul Dunn said.
These situations are so few and far between, "the more you can train, the better your response will be when a real incident happens," Dunn said. "Incidents like this only happen once in a person's career," he added.
Murphy noted the local fire and police agencies were very professional, and he was especially impressed with how well the agencies worked together.
"There's a good working relationship - no egos - we're all here to solve a problem and to protect lives, property and the environment," Murphy said.
The 91st Civilian Support Teams plans to train with other agencies here again next year in a smaller drill.