Friday, October 21, 2011

CAPSHIELD 12 - Day 2

Today we spent hours scouring semi-collapsed buildings looking for survivors, and hauled out seven people on stretchers -- which we then carried 100 yards. As one of 4 litter bearers, my share of the weight was 40-50 lbs for each. It wasn't that bad, but I was exhausted by the end.

We'd found every body in every building, and transported all the survivors... but then they told us to do an eighth, just for show, because VIPs were watching. This one was from decon: 200 yards, mostly uphill. Ugh.

Finally, we wrapped for the day, had some pizza, and went home to nurse our own injuries.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CAPSHIELD 12 - Day 1

Soldiers sat around the clearing, some having a smoke, others trying to catch a few winks. The lonely sound of a harmonica floated in the breeze. "Hmm hmm hmm hmm-hmm-hmm, hmm hmm hmmm-hmm-hmmm" ("Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam...") They weren't in uniform; add a campfire and they could be cowpokes.

Except for the simulated blood, lacerations, embedded glass fragments, and impalements. Also, the Old West ambience was spoiled by the guy entertaining us with Chewbacca noises before going back to typing on his phone.

War is hell.

They told us the scenario: a Cat 3 hurricane hit, leaving downed trees and power lines, etc. "That's it?" I thought. "So we open some shelters. Big deal."

But wait, there's more. "There are protesters... (damn occupy-Wall-Streeters!) AND terrorists attacks, with both shootings and bombings. The terrorists post a viral video threatening more." (Not a tape like Osama bin Laden; a YouTube video that lots of people share. To which my reaction, of course, was "what, no Twitter?")

The Montgomery County CERT (including DisasterMan) jumped into action. It was the annual CAPSHIELD exercise, practicing with the military to respond to mass casualty incidents. Once again, photographer Matt Laur got some great shots.

More at: CAPSHIELD - Day 2