By Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa
Florida National Guard Public Affairs
STARKE, Fla. (May 18, 2015) – Personnel from major Army installations across the globe are training with the Florida National Guard at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center this week, learning best practices for improving emergency management operations at their bases.
Twenty-six students from 16 major posts are attending the Army Installation Emergency Operations Center (EOC) course at the 211th Regional Training Institute (RTI) May 18-22. The training is designed for all Army components, and is focused on training personnel to “staff, activate, operate, and deactivate” an installation’s EOC during any manmade or natural disaster. The training teaches the participants to operate their EOCs in accordance with established Army criteria, and have a complete understanding of federal laws, Department of Defense doctrine, and emergency operations procedures.
“We are using an approved Army program of instruction to train installations across the globe on how to respond to disasters,” RTI Commander Col. Eric Lefevre explained on the initial day of the course. “We haven’t had a course like this before. This will be the first time we’ve used the EOC in this capacity to train other people who operate in EOCs.”
The unique five-day course on the RTI’s campus includes seven scenario-based exercises to test the skills of EOC planners and operators. Training for the Army Installation EOC course takes place inside of a functioning emergency operations center and runs the gamut from active shooter and disease outbreak exercises, to winter storm and earthquake drills.
“Knowing how to best conduct mission command during an incident such as the Fort Hood shooting…or a crisis like a tornado…requires teamwork, planning, knowledge of the law, (and) management of social media,” said Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, who welcomed the students to the course.
He added that the most important aspect of the course will be learning how professional and expedient crisis management will “safeguard lives and property.”
Students attending the course are based at several Army installations, to include: Forts Benning, Carson, Leavenworth, Sill, and Lee; West Point; Germany; and Vicenza, Italy.
Course Manager for the training Thomas Barry, of Davis-Paige Management Systems, explained that the course “fits a defined gap that TRADOC identified” in training for EOC staffing.
Barry also noted the Joint Operations Center Training Facility where the course is held, is “state-of-the-art” and its setup for emergency operations training surpasses the EOCs at many Army installations.