POSTED OCTOBER, 2012
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Barnett, Atlantic Strike Team, National Strike Force
Two Atlantic Strike Team members assisted Sector Hampton Roads, Va., in the 2012 James River Preparedness for Response Exercise Program from Sept. 19-20, 2012.
Petty Officer 1st Class James Maida and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Barnett with the Atlantic Strike Team based out of Fort Dix, N.J., used the PREP exercise as an opportunity to evaluate and improve the local Area Contingency Plan by testing existing response plans and systems. The exercise was hosted by Colonial Pipeline and Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads with the help of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
For the two day exercise, the United States Coast Guard and Colonial Pipeline created a comprehensive scenario centered on a pipeline that crosses the James River and the release of more than 2,000 barrels of diesel fuel.
Sector Hampton Roads, the Commonwealth of Virginia and Colonial Pipeline created a unified command including personnel from Sector Hampton Roads, the Atlantic Strike Team, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, Colonial Pipeline, wildlife officials and local stake holders.
“This was a great opportunity to assist our customers in the ICS planning and decision making process, and we feel that getting each of the players on the same page is crucial so that strong relationships are forged before an actual incident," said Maida.
"I appreciate the opportunity to work with the different federal agencies and stake holders in a PREP drill of this magnitude, and by doing these exercises we will be more ready to deal with a real threat," said Barnett.
During the exercise, Colonial Pipeline set up a real staging area to deploy 2,000 feet of boom and skimmers. However, due to inclement weather they were unable to complete this part of the exercise and postponed it until a future date.
“The World’s Best Responders: Any Time, Any Place, Any Hazard.”