Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nimitz fire drill walkthrough

Nimitz fire drill walkthrough

Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher R Jahnke 
USS Nimitz (CVN 68)  

NAVAL BASE KITSAP-BREMERTON, Wash. (March 16, 2018) Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Hedderman from Oak Harbor, Wash., and Capt. Shane Finch, Navy Region Northwest Fire Department, walk through the plans with federal fire department firefighters and Nimitz Sailors for a drill aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), March 16, 2018. Nimitz is conducting a docking planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility where the ship will receive scheduled maintenance and upgrades. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christopher Jahnke)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nashville District hosts ‘First Responders Day’ at Old Hickory Dam

Nashville District hosts ‘First Responders Day’ at Old Hickory Dam
Jerry Breznican (Second from Left), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Emergency Management chief, briefs first responders in front of an Emergency Command and Control Vehicle during First Responders Day at Old Hickory Dam in Old Hickory, Tenn., Feb. 1, 2018. (USACE photo by Leon Roberts)
Story by Leon Roberts
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District 

OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (Feb. 1, 2018) – What would happen if a towboat and barge were commandeered and its hijackers threatened public safety while inside a Corps of Engineers navigation lock? First responders wrestled with this potential scenario during a tabletop exercise at Old Hickory Dam today.

Federal, state and local officials weighed possible strategies and tactics and discussed the resources required to respond to such a nefarious event during “First Responders Day” at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District project located on the Cumberland River a short distance upstream of Music City.

Patrick Sheehan, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency director, said he valued the opportunity to see the impressive infrastructure and to interact with Corps employees, which made the tabletop exercise even more real and resulted in more effective decision making.

“To be able to see it (the dam) and be able to have the right partners around to talk through how we might respond to any number of crises that happen here, you don’t get that kind of orientation by sitting around,” Sheehan said. “It’s impressive to be able to see the moving parts and how things connect to the electrical grid and support the waterway.”

Officials from the Nashville District, U.S. Coast Guard, Tennessee Office of Homeland Security, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee National Guard, Hendersonville Police Department and Metro Nashville Police Department participated.

Prior to the tabletop exercise, first responders were familiarized with the facilities at Old Hickory Dam, which included a tour of the dam, navigation lock, and hydropower plant. Corps officials also provided briefings on emergency management, safety and security, and even gave a tour of an emergency command and control vehicle.

Tony Bivens, Nashville District’s Middle Tennessee area manager, explained how Old Hickory Dam, a run of the river project at Cumberland River mile 216.2, delivers limited flood risk reduction, but does provide great value with hydropower generation, and greatly supports the region with navigation and recreation benefits.

Because of the lock’s involvement with the exercise scenario, Bivens pointed out that the navigation lock is 84-feet wide and 397-feet long, and that the lock is operated by filling and emptying the chamber.
“We not only maintain and operate these lock structures, but we also maintain a nine-foot navigation channel throughout the Cumberland River,” Bivens said.

Throughout the exercise, the first responders detailed a lot of “what ifs” and discussed how the different agencies would engage the situation and communicate internally and externally. They shared how their respective organizations would provide support at different points of the timeline from the initial response to the resolution.

Lt. Col. Cullen Jones, Nashville District commander, said “First Responders Day” allowed everyone to see the project, build relationships and cultivate an understanding of each other before something bad happens. He encouraged everyone to provide feedback to make future exercises more effective and useful and thanked everyone for their willingness to work together to be prepared.

“It was great to have such a diverse group out here helping us understand the challenges that we would potentially face in the event a worst-case scenario did occur,” Jones said. “This was developed to continue to build our relationships and increase our understanding across multi-agencies so we could be a cohesive team in the event of an incident and unified response.”

(The public can obtain news, updates, and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at The public can also follow Old Hickory Lake on Facebook at

Soldier applies training; saves a life

Spc. Trevor Tompkins
Photo By Staff Sgt. Coltin Heller | Spc. Trevor Tompkins, a combat medic with 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard stands in front of an MRAP vehicle during a field training exercise at Fort Sam Houston in 2015.
Story by Capt. Gregory McElwain
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division 

At 12:40, Tompkins, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard ran over to the man and helped lower him safely to the ground while announcing that he was a trained medic.
“My first thought was, oh no, this guy is having a heart attack,” Tompkins said.
He shouted for someone to call 911 and asked for the Automated External Defibrillator. Instantly, Tompkins began CPR.
James Lutey, a Customs and Border Protection Officer with Homeland Security arrived shortly after Tompkins started chest compressions and rescue breathing.
“When I got on scene, he was getting out the AED and hooking it up. I assisted, but he directed everything. It was clear he was experienced.” Lutey said.
For 15 minutes Tompkins worked between the AED and CPR to resuscitate the man.
“I put my heart into this, my biggest fear was losing him,” Tompkins said. “Of course there was anxiety I did not want to lose this guy. When I was treating him, it hit close to home, because my grandfather just suffered a major heart attack the day before.”
“It was muscle memory, it worked like clockwork,” he said, speaking of his medical platoon with the 2/112th Infantry. “Last month we did CPR retraining to stay current. Being a Medic is a perishable skill. We all have civilian jobs, I am a sales [representative] for a home building company, I have no Medical practice outside of the army. When we have a drill, we train hard. There is a lot of muscle memory.”
At 12:52 Tompkins regained the pulse and the individual began breathing on his own. He rolled him over onto his side and put him in the recovery position so that he could maintain a clear airway.
“I was elated that I had restored his pulse, but I monitored him every 15 seconds. I knew I may have to start CPR again.”
As they waited for EMS to arrive, Lutey noticed that Tompkins had absolute control and maintained professionalism the entire time. “It is clear that he is well trained and is able to perform admirably in uniform and outside of his military duties,” Lutey said.
“The man was aspirating. He had a partially blocked airway so I tried to clear his airway,” he said.
No one in the gathering crowd had a suction device, so Tomkins adapted to overcome the challenge.
“I was working to create a suction device out of an eyedropper bottle and straw, but then EMS arrived,” he said.
EMS arrived at 12:57
Edward Troy, a Homeland Security Special Agent, witnessed the resuscitation and watched as Tompkins handed over responsibility and care for the man to EMS. “He used professional terminology that the EMS crew understood. If I could be one-tenth as professional and calm as he was during an emergency, I would feel lucky,” Troy said.
Special Agent Troy presented Tompkins with a challenge coin commend him for his actions.
“At the end of the day I was just doing my job,” Tompkins said. “When you see someone go down, it is just second nature. As a medic, you are the deciding factor whether or not they get to go home. I wanted to make sure that this guy went home.”
“When I was finished, I realized that a crowd had gathered,” he said.
Troy said that many in the crowd were shaking Tompkins’ hand and thanking him for his quick thinking. “He just kept saying, ‘This is my job.’ Tompkins is mature beyond his years, very calm, cool, and collected.”