Teams from 32 state, federal and local agencies conducted maritime training exercises and got to see demonstrations of new technology in Hampton Roads, Va., this past week.
“They’re all here today to learn the basic fundamentals of search and rescue, emergency response operations, and the biggest thing is networking,” said Bill Burket, director of the Maritime Incident Response Team for the Port of Virginia, according to WAVY.
The 12th annual Steven Todd Dooley Search and Rescue (SAR) Forum included classroom sessions, practical and advanced practical evolutions, two nighttime evolutions and one daylight SAR exercise, according to organizers. A Command Staff and 9-11 Communications track was tailored to regional command and dispatch staff.
Vendors were on hand throughout the week to provide resources and technical assistance to vessel crews.
Peggy Britton, chief of response for Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads, said the exercise brought together the regional SAR community as a team. “When you know the familiar face of that voice on the other end of the line, that makes a difference, especially to that family,” she said.
Britton told News 3 that the area was unique out of her Coast Guard station assignments. “People work together without ego, without pride or prejudice because they care more about the people we’re looking for,” she said.