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Specialized teams like the U.S. Marine Corps’ Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force from Indian Head require specialized personnel to observe and train them during Vibrant Response 13 at Mascatatuck Urban Train Complex in Indiana on July 30.

Safety Solutions Inc., a company specializing in urban search and rescue training, and observer controllers from inside the response force, are responsible for ensuring that the force is fully trained, according to a news release.

Marine Sgt. Daniel Bronza with the technical rescue platoon of the response force, observed the Marines brace a collapsing building to allow for safe entry of other response force teams.

“My job [as the observer controller] is to make sure that they are performing operations safely as well as critique and possibly take back information to decide what training they may need to hit a little harder,” said Bronza in the release.

The rescue force is the only unit in the country specialized in performing urban search and rescue operations in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high explosive environments, the release states.

“Any other task force dealing with urban search and rescue [is] not really trained to deal with all the hazard s… in a chemical or biological environment,” Bronza said. “We are definitely unique and need our own personnel to observe our training.”

Safety Solutions employees are brought in as experts to set up training scenarios and help with technical questions. Most of the trainers with the company are firefighters and paramedics and have firsthand experience with urban search and rescue.

“We’ll answer technical questions they may have while doing the training, but for the most part we stay out of their way,” said Greg Rogers, a structural specialist with the safety company. “We set it up and we place the ‘victims’ in certain areas, and as they go in …we will play the structural specialist.”

The training at Vibrant Response allows units to refine skills needed for lifesaving and life-sustaining operations after a domestic chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident, the release states.

Keeping the scenarios relevant and realistic as well as providing updated information about tactics used by other urban search and rescue teams is the priority of the safety company, Rogers said. Urban search and rescue teams coming back from Haiti after the earthquake have a wealth of information to be shared for everyone’s benefit, according to the release.

The interaction between the force and the safety company allow the unit to hone its specialty further.

Units participating in Vibrant Response will continue to train with observer controllers, like Safety Solutions in the field training exercise to ensure unit readiness in the event of a man-made or natural disaster.

The writer is Sgt. Candice Harrison.