Story by: Sgt. Tashera Pravato
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – The South Carolina National Guard, in partnership with numerous state agencies, conducted hurricane response training in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, as a part of Vigilant Guard 2015, a regional emergency response exercise focused on response to a natural disaster, in this case a Category 4 hurricane.
The SCNG partnered with the S.C. State Guard, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department and other local emergency responders to conduct health and wellness checks in the Overton neighborhood. The joint task force went door-to-door checking on the local residents, assessed their needs and determined how best to meet those needs in a real response.
“In the scenario, our job today was to assist the S.C. State Guard, along with various Berkeley County emergency responders, and perform health and wellness checks for citizens who might have been affected by the storm,” said Sgt. Jeremy Argabright, Bravo Company, 1-118 Infantry.
The morning started off with a mass briefing, giving the different organizations an opportunity to prepare for the exercise and solve last-minute issues together. Individuals were also taking that time to exchange tactical and medical strategies as well as to learn from each other.
“It’s exciting to see the SCNG and State Guard come out to help and inform the community,” said Lt. Annie Jackson, Berkeley County Sheriff’s deputy. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with them now as we would in the case of a natural disaster.”
However, working with other organizations agencies also has its challenges. Establishing effective communication with all of the organizations involved was a learning experience for one State Guardsman.
“The exercise is really dynamic in terms of terminality. Everyone has there own structure and language,” said Lt. Col. Corigan Smothers, task force commander for the State Guard. “This is an opportunity to work on maintaining relationships so that when a natural disaster happens, we can work as a team to respond.”