From September 15 – 17, 2017, the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM), the Massachusetts National Guard, and the Massachusetts Homeland Security Regions sponsored a terrorism based emergency response exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod, located in Bourne, Massachusetts. This 72 hour full scale exercise, known as Operation SCORE (Statewide Collapse Operations Response Exercise) was designed to test interagency cooperation, communications interoperability, operational coordination in a mass search and rescue operation, medical care in a hostile environment, and long term sustainability in an interagency response environment.
This three day full-scale exercise brought together approximately 350 members of regional technical rescue teams from across Massachusetts, 200 personnel from the Massachusetts National Guard, as well as staff from the Department of Fire Services (DFS) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The Technical Rescue Team out of Mass Fire District 7 participated including 5 members from the Auburn Fire Rescue Department.
“Massachusetts Fire District 7 has been obtaining equipment and training in all four disciplines in the tech rescue arena for the past four years” said District Chairman and AFRD Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr. “I am so proud of the efforts of this team and what we have been able to accomplish over the past four years in this district. The team performed at an extremely high level in this exercise and showed that District 7 is a valuable asset in the state and national infrastructure as it pertains to technical rescue”.
It is the third in a series of five full scale mobilization exercises being conducted to challenge and assess the fire services’ statewide technical rescue capability, as well as interagency cooperation between the teams, the Massachusetts National Guard Homeland Response Task Force, and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Hazardous Materials Teams.
“Operation SCORE was the culmination of over a year of planning with many agencies coming together with the goal of
partnering with National Guard soldiers and firefighters from across the State that have special training, skill sets, and equipment to respond to disasters, manmade or natural. This mobilization exercise proved we can come together to work in adverse conditions, self-sustain for many hours, keep our personnel safe, and deliver the mission,” said Exercise Director Chief Kevin Nord of the Duxbury Fire Department.
This exercise was collaboratively developed through a working group consisting of representatives from the Massachusetts Homeland Security Councils, the regional technical rescue teams, FCAM, MEMA, DFS, EOPSS, and the Massachusetts National Guard.
Operation SCORE was funded through Homeland Security Grant Program funds via the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Massachusetts Homeland Security Councils. This exercise served to test skills and equipment that have been paid for via these homeland security funds over the last ten years.
“Hurricanes Harvey and Irma highlight the importance of exercises such as Operation SCORE, which strengthen the already robust collaboration that exists between state, local, and National Guard elements,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Daniel Bennett. “Operation SCORE is an excellent example of how federal funding is used to further enhance state and local technical rescue capabilities, counter-terrorism response, and overall emergency preparedness.”