Urban Shield – Hyper Realistic training for first responders

Over the past four years the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, with the support of the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), has conducted a Homeland Security training exercise called Urban Shield.  Urban Shield has received national and international recognition as a valuable tactical training exercise and platform to test the newest life saving technology […]

Over the past four years the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, with the support of the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), has conducted a Homeland Security training exercise called Urban Shield.  Urban Shield has received national and international recognition as a valuable tactical training exercise and platform to test the newest life saving technology for first responders.  Urban Shield is a real time test of our response capabilities and performance-based field tactical training.  Urban Shield incorporates principles of the National Response Framework (NRF) to assist tactical first response teams, both local and international, to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and major emergencies over a 48 hour plus operational period.

Urban Shield 2011 is designed to strengthen each agency’s preparedness to respond to threats and domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.  This year we will continue to incorporate Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) teams geared toward developing mechanisms for improved delivery of service to our communities.  The event allows participating agencies a practical opportunity to evaluate their team’s level of preparedness and ability to perform a variety of intricate first responder operations while training with Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire, and EOD to identify their ability to cope with large scale events both at a local and Regional level.

In 2010, Doug Wyllie, Editor of PoliceOne.com magazine wrote, “The San Francisco Bay Area Urban Shield exercise continues to gain national and international recognition as a model for testing and evaluating enhanced regional preparedness across all disciplines of public safety and major disaster response.” Urban Shield is a “one of a kind” training event bringing the components of the National Response Plan to life in an urban setting and is rapidly becoming a national model.  The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is utilized to coordinate this large scale exercise with training venues representative of Tier 1 Critical Infrastructure Sites.

This event is not limited to teams from our regional area, but is open to any team wishing to participate.  In 2009 the French National Police’s “Research, Assistance, Intervention, and Dissuasion” (R.A.I.D.) Team participated, as did observers from Bahrain and Israel.  In 2010, teams from Israel, Bahrain, and Jordan participated in the event. Other Tier 1 sites throughout the United States are contemplating hosting Urban Shield events. In 2010, our event hosted 26 tactical training sites as well as EOD, Fire, and EMS related scenarios. Five medical checkpoints and one technology assessment site allowed teams to gain valuable experience and training in immediate medical/trauma care and the newest in tactical response equipment.  Over 75 law enforcement agencies took part in one form or another and over 3,000 persons were involved in the event as participants, role players, and volunteers.  For 2011, we expect more agencies to be involved.

We are again reaching out to companies with the latest first responder technology to allow them an opportunity to showcase their products in scenarios.  In 2010, over 100 vendors participated in our very successful vendor show.  Overall, nearly 100 examples of state of the art technology were inserted into the scenarios allowing teams to evaluate new products and provide our vendors with valuable hands on feedback.

Urban Shield 2011 takes place October 14-17, 2011. The location of the Hot Wash and Vendor show will be located at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The vendor show will occur on Monday, October 17, 2011.  If your company is interested in supporting this event please contact me as soon as possible. Companies interested in participating in the vendor show must submit completed registration forms no later than July 31, 2011.  Those companies wishing to have their technology showcased in a scenario must verbally commit their technology and support for the event by May 1, 2011. This commitment ensures our ability to design scenarios with as much vendor involvement as possible and successfully present products to teams during the course of the event.

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