St. Bernard Parish Fire Department (SBFD) personnel recently participated in a full scale training exercise in cooperation with the Tangipahoa Parish Fire Department, Tangipahoa Parish Emergency Operations Center, Tangipahoa Parish Government, United State Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and over 400 additional first responders and volunteers from across Louisiana. The training scenario contained mock water rescue situations including medical calls on the water, victims trapped in swift water, victims entrapped in attics with rising water, and homeowners who refused to leave their dwellings. The exercise was designed to create confusion for experienced emergency responders and assist new emergency responders gain invaluable experience in water rescue situations.
17 members of the Fire Department participated in the training scenario and largely simulated the role of victims. SBFD could not commit to participating until a few days prior to the training exercise, due to being on active standby with New Orleans Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 (USAR TF1) for a possible deployment into Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. SBFD was also on active standby with New Orleans USAR TF1 for a possible deployment into Texas in August during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. SBFD has 15 personnel trained in swift water rescue with many more requesting to be trained. SBFD has had its share of water rescue situations during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005), responding to Plaquemines Parish during Hurricane Isaac (2012), responding to Terrebonne Parish during Hurricane Gustav (2008), and responding to the Baton Rouge Floods (2016).
Participating SBFD members were: District Chief Troy Serigne, Training Officer Earl Borden, Captain CJ Miller, Captain Richard Steele, Captain Glenn Ellis IV, Captain Mike Wolfe, Captain Nick Elsensohn, Captain Shane Lulei, Captain Nick Campbell, Captain Eric Crotwell, Engineer Devin Murphy, Engineer Joshua Wolfe, Engineer Rebecca Stechmann, Engineer Mitch Chevalier, Firefighter Casey Molinary, Firefighter Mike Henderson, and Firefighter Justin Helffrich.