By Larry Reilly
USAG-Stuttgart Public Affairs
German and American first responders recently participated in a seminar at Patch Barracks to discuss procedures when responding to emergency situations on the U.S. installations in Stuttgart.
The 60 participants represented the police, fire, medical and Red Cross emergency service agencies from local city and county areas as well as the garrison’s internal emergency service agencies.
Most of the attendees knew each other during previous garrison force protection exercises. However, this time around, they had the opportunity to meet and talk about each other’s protocols and procedures during emergency situations without the training element of a simulated emergency.
“During our annual force protection training exercises, we are all reacting to the emergency while being graded on how we react, and although we have a general idea of what each of the German emergency service agencies are going to do when they arrive, we do not always know specifically the second and third order of effects they will follow,” said Mike Pons, garrison antiterrorism officer. “This seminar enabled us to talk in detail about what each agency’s process and procedure would be during a variety of emergency situations.”
During the garrison’s annual training exercise, the simulated emergency normally requires multiple emergency service agencies to respond; being able to identify which agency would take the lead was a major dialogue of the this seminar. However, the smaller and more likely emergency situations that require only one or two agencies to respond were also discussed.
“Learning the procedures and protocol of the German police departments when responding to an emergency was an eye opener for me because their procedures do differ from ours and they are situationally dependent” said Ruben Santiago, garrison chief of police. “We not only gained great knowledge of their processes and protocols, we also gained valuable insight into how we can better assist them when they are responding to our request for assistance.”
The group discussed a series of problem statements aimed at addressing everyday situations that could occur at one the garrison’s installations, from the need to medically evacuate someone via air or ground to responding to a fire at an on-post housing unit.
“We strive to get it right, when unified, everyone’s effort to respond focuses on life saving, protecting our infrastructure and maintain mission assurance. This seminar assists with our partnership efforts amongst all first responders, to provide a whole community effort, to protect our installations, and our service members, civilians, contractors and their families” said Rob Daul, garrison emergency manager.
The seminar also addressed complex scenarios where a number of first responder agencies are required such as a mass casualty event or a major fire that results in a number of burn victims were discussed, and the feedback aided not only the American participants of the seminar, but also the German participants.
“The seminar really helped everyone from various emergency service agencies gain an understanding and appreciation for what the other agencies’ procedures and practices are,” said Guido Plischek, district fire chief, Böblingen County. “This seminar not only enabled me to establish a better network with the American responders’ it enabled me to see how the other city fire department personnel handle emergencies. This seminar should be held a couple times a year.”