On September 14th, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District Special Operations participated with regional responders for Operation Stone Crab that was held as a one day Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) exercise in Charlotte County. Over 6 agencies participated in the drill that exercised Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and Fire/ Hazmat response to a suspected simulated terrorist act.

The drill involved a complex incident command system that tested a local response that transferred into a state response that utilized the 48th and 44th WMD teams of the Florida National Guard. The incident involved an entity that drove a box truck with 4000lb. of chlorine gas that was dissipated at a local minor league baseball game.

Over 40 live actors were involved to simulate exposure patients. That scenario then led to a simulated chemistry lab that the suspect created that modeled two live biological agents. Southern Manatee Fire Rescue District worked with the 48th WMD team to enter and survey, then transferred into sample gathering. This was a successful complex drill with many great lessons learned. This was also the first opportunity to place our hazmat drone that was used operationally for a simulated hazmat incident.

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