Exercise Orion 2010 took place during the first week of September 2010 at locations across England. It was centered on an earthquake scenario designed to simulate an event that has a very low likelihood of occurring in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and therefore is outside all normal...
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- Bronze — Operational level. This is the level at which the management of immediate "hands-on" work is carried out.
- Silver — Tactical level. The purpose of the Silver level is to ensure that actions taken by Bronze-level responders are coordinated, coherent and integrated to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency (usually comprised of the most senior officers of each agency committed within the area of operations and will assume tactical command of the event or situation).
- Gold — Strategic level. Also known as the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG), this level is established during situations that have an especially significant impact or substantial resource implications, involving a large number of organizations or last for an extended duration. The SCG is to take overall responsibility for the multi-agency management of the emergency and to establish the policy and strategic framework within which the Silver level will work.
All three levels of command were established for this exercise. At each level, challenges were placed on participants and the decisions made were constantly evaluated by the exercise staff. Assistant Chief Fire Officer Roy Harold said, "A drill only serves its purpose if you can learn from it. And to learn from it, you need to evaluate." Using this mindset at all levels of command provides a realistic view of just where your capabilities stand and where you need and/or want to be.
Participants, evaluators and staff left the exercise site with many memories of challenges faced and overcome. Exercise Orion 2010 will be remembered as a great success and as an event that lived up to its vision of "training for reality."
BOB DUEMMEL, a Firehouse® Magazine and Firehouse.com contributing editor, is captain of the Special Operations Unit of the Rochester, NY, Fire Department and serves as the plans manager for New York Task Force 2 (NY TF-2). He is a member of the NYS USAR IST in the Operations Section and a member of the New York State Technical Rescue curriculum development team. Duemmel has delivered training to fire service, industrial, military and international rescue teams and has assisted with exercise evaluation for the United Kingdom and the European Union's USAR program. He is host of "The Buzz on Technical Rescue" at Radio@Firehouse.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. A version of this article appears on Firehouse.com.