Coast Guard, MIRT to host 4th annual Search and Rescue Forum

HAMPTON, Va. – The Coast Guard, the Virginia Port Authority’s Maritime Incident Response Team, Coast Guard Auxiliary, state and local law enforcement agencies and first responders are scheduled to participate in a three-day long forum involving marine search and rescue training, exercises, and classroom discussion Wednesday through Friday at the Hampton Dockmaster’s Facility in Hampton.

“The purpose of this forum is to improve inter-agency cooperation, increase search effectiveness, enhance crew safety and coordination, and foster a better understanding among maritime first responders,” said Ens. David Herndon of the Sector Hampton Roads incident management division.

Some highlights of the event will include equipment training to demonstrate proper use of flares, personal protective equipment and other devices used in search and rescue, in addition to training in search patterns, towing safety, and more.

There will be several exercises, including a night-time navigation drill Thursday evening and a simulated search and rescue case Friday morning. All exercises will take place between the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel.

Agencies and organizations attending this forum include: The Coast Guard; Maritime Incident Response Team; Coast Guard Auxiliary; Virginia Marine Resources Commission; Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries; fire and police departments from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Newport News, James City County, Henrico County, Smithfield, Hampton, Chesapeake, York County and Poquoson.

“This week’s forum is a significant step in our continued and shared responsibility to protect the public,” Herndon said.

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