Straights Shield ExerciseStart Date: 04/26/2022
Teams arrived in St Ignace, MI Monday evening April 25th 2022 and met at the Super 8 Motel for a pre-deployment briefing. EXPLAN, ICS Methodology, and schedule of events were reviewed before breaking for dinner and reconvening Tuesday morning. Teams met at 10:45, reviewed the day’s plan, then left for the Little Bear Ice Arena in a convoy, passing through the USCG Station on the way. After gathering in the NE corner of the Little Bear Ice Arena at noon, HAR and team leads entered the building, familiarized with the layout and the locker room provided for our teams. Team leads met back up with the teams, reviewed the layout, and re-entered the building, paying attention not to block the doorway and to keep moving to our assigned area.
Teams then returned to the briefing room to mingle and attend the start op briefing at 12:30. The briefing included discussion of stress and mental health, which was a nice opening for us. HOPE teams remained at the arena while some players went to the USCG station for on-the-water activities and others stayed at the Arena. Teams got an opportunity to observe the development if IS 201, the Incident Briefing Form.
Teams spread out, met, and talked with other players, sharing HOPE’s mission and letting the dogs work their magic.
Around this time the HAR received a call from a school social worker in Ishpeming in the UP; a middle school student had died unexpectedly at the school and HOPE was asked if we could have teams there on Wednesday morning. HAR Nick Meier informed the 2 Team Leads and worked on arrangements for the new event while continuing to support Straits Shield.
Day 1 events closed; teams returned to the hotel and met up before dinner to discuss logistics of the new event.
Teams Cathy Queen (Parker), Julia Meier (Ischgl), Becky Engelter (Ella), and Karen Alvord (Charles) broke out to go to Ishpeming, leaving teams Janel Zuranski (Gossamer), Bob Star (Oliver), and Daena Grifka (Kismet) for Day 2 of Straights Shield.
Day 2 began with teams meeting at the hotel and traveling to the Arena site en masse.
The Captain opened the day not only with comments from Day 1 and the agenda for Day 2, but also with special recognition for the HOPE AACR teams. He noted we had to break teams away for the student death and that everyone should thank the dogs in the green vests and the HOPE folks in the green shirts.
HOPE teams rotated from the Arena to the Coast Guard site, participating in the on-shore efforts: meeting first responders in gear, faux victims in moulage, visiting the warming tent, Coast Guard building, and on shore at the dock as boats came and left, bringing victims ashore and heading back out.
Play ended for the day and teams gathered at the Arena for the hot wash. Gossamer was called out specifically for his impact on one of the victims.
All in all this was an EXCELLENT exercise. The teams displayed professionalism and adaptability; we made many contacts and demonstrated the effect HOPE’s Animal Assisted Crisis Response teams can have.
Cathy Queen (Parker), Julia Meier (Ischgl), Karen Alvord (Charles), Janel Zuranski (Gossamer), Bob Star (Oliver), Daena Grifka (Kismet), Becky Engelter (Ella)