Barnstable County Incident Management Team Participates in Search and Rescue Exercise
The Barnstable County All Hazards Incident Management Team (BCAHIMT) participated in the recently held Statewide Collapse Operations Response Exercise (SCORE) at Camp Edwards, Joint Base Cape Cod on September 14 and 15. The team was onsite to support the Barnstable County Technical Rescue Team (BCTRT), one of the five regional teams participating in the exercise. The photo below shows the BCTRT members at the Joint Base fire station being briefed prior to deployment.
Operation SCORE was a full-scale mobilization exercise designed to challenge and assess the fire service’s technical rescue capability statewide. It also exercised interagency cooperation with statewide agencies including the Massachusetts National Guard, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.
Deploying with the BCTRT on the evening of September 14, the BCAHIMT established a base of operations (photo at left below) and provided logistics, accountability and ground support for the BCTRT while they performed their search and rescue duties on Thursday night (photo at right below).
On Friday, the team provided ground support and accountability for other teams and military units as they arrived.
Dennis Deputy Fire Chief Bob Brown is the BCAHIMT Team Leader. “Operation SCORE was an excellent opportunity for our teams to work together during a large-scale training exercise.” Brown said the BCAHIMT supports the BCTRT and local authorities during real-world search and rescue operations on the Cape.
In addition, as a nationally recognized team, the BCAHIMT is qualified to operate outside of Barnstable County. The team was on standby to deploy to Texas or Florida after hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In 2012 team members deployed to New York City for two weeks to help the recovery effort after Hurricane Sandy. The photo below shows team members at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team, where they helped operate a logistics staging area.
The Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee (BCREPC) established the team in 2005 to provide essential emergency management support functions on a countywide basis.
Brown explained that during disasters and emergencies, the resources of local public safety agencies are often stretched to the limit. “Our team is ready to assist localities with planning, operations, logistics, finance/administration and public information. This frees up the local incident commander to focus on the incident.”
In addition to tactical responses, the BCAHIMT operates the Barnstable County Multi-Agency Coordination Center (MACC). The MACC provides local Emergency Operations Centers with resources and information during major regional incidents like hurricanes and blizzards. The photo below shows the MACC in operation during a blizzard in January 2015.
Brown emphasized that the team is a volunteer organization. “We are always looking for people with a commitment to emergency management and a willingness to be trained to operate in a highly motivated environment.”
Team members – employed and retired – are drawn from the ranks of public safety, public health, the military, and private sector organizations.