Hurricane Rescue Drill Will Mean Low-Flying Military Helicopters Over Hamilton

A portion of a multi-agency technical rescue drill dubbed Operation Swift Response will be happening early next week in Hamilton at Bradley Palmer State Park.

Military Helicopter

Operating Swift Response is designed to simulate the response to a Category 5 Hurricane striking the eastern side of Massachusetts.

The drill is scheduled to occur on Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“There will be low flying National Guard helicopters in the area during that period, which will land at Bradley Palmer,” said Hamilton Fire Chief Phil Stevens.

The drill is designed to be a full-scale exercise and will also be taking place at “designated incident locations” elsewhere on the North Shore and on the South Shore. The two-day drill is designed to practice a mass search and rescue by deploying and operating at a large scale search and rescue incident; operational coordination by demonstrating interoperability between all district rescue teams and the National Guard while operating in a disaster environment and operational communication by demonstrating interoperability among all agencies using federal channels and cross band patching.

The Essex County Technical Rescue Team, which has apparatus stationed at the Hamilton fire station, will go to work with a simulated wide area search, entering the area in military helicopters. They will have limited resources to complete their missions.

“The overwhelming event will require additional Technical Rescue Teams from unaffected parts of the state be brought in by military helicopter,” according to a description of the planned drill. “Patients will be extricated from various environments and evacuated to the base of operations.”


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