Base conducts tornado, accountability drill

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  • By 127th Public Affairs
Base personnel here conducted a disaster response drill in which a tornado hit the base gymnasium earlier today.

The exercise involved base fire department and security forces personnel, along with a cadre of representatives from MedStar, the base's safety office, bioenvironmental, emergency management and civil engineers, as well as twelve volunteers from the local Civil Air Patrol unit dressed as casualties.  Those victims, moulaged with mock injuries, added the realistic edge to the exercise at Selfridge, ensuring first responders can triage patients while assessing damage to facilities and ensuring missions can continue at the base.

For the exercise, high winds were reported several times to base facilities through the base weather shop and the secondary phone warning system, which ensured plausible progression for the scenario.  Eventually, the weather status reported increased to a tornado warning which prompted base personnel to take sheltering measures.

After the severe weather warning passed, facilities were checked and personnel accountability was the initial priority, causing base officials to roll into setting up unit control centers and establishing the emergency operations center.  When casualties and destruction were found at the base gym, the Fire Department responded accordingly. "In a base this size, with this many tenants, we must practice our accountability procedures in order to perform seamlessly in the event of an actual disaster," said Exercise Evaluation Team director, Maj. Brian Davis.

While the 127th Wing is host unit at the 3,000 acre base, there are more than 40 tenant units from various DoD and DHS agencies - many of which are Guard or Reserve units -  which can complicate reporting procedures, through various chains of command as well as to the base first responders.

"We're working toward streamlining our base disaster response and recovery procedures, ensuring we understand everyone's capabilities and mission priorities," Davis explained.  "By thinking about the worst-case scenarios, we're able to practice like we would actually respond and better prepare for the future."