Sultan observes urban disaster simulation
Izah Azahari

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Supreme Commander and Minister of Defence, consented to visit and witness the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) exercise operations at the Mentiri exercise site located at the Mentiri Housing Area.

His Majesty was welcomed by the Commander of the Royal Brunei Air Force (RBAirF), Brigadier General (U) Haji Wardi bin Haji Abd Latif.

The disaster simulation at the Mentiri Housing area involved the collapse of several buildings due to soil erosion, which injured the trapped civilians under the rubble.

The SAR simulations involved K-9 units, helicopter evacuation and medical teams from Brunei Darussalam, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the People’s Republic of China.

The exercise also involved engineering teams from Brunei Darussalam and the Kingdom of Thailand, as well as an air operation with aircraft from Brunei Darussalam, the United States of America, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Singapore, India and the People’s Republic of China, in addition to medical teams from the participating nations.

Specialist units involved in the simulation included a Thai Search and Rescue (SAR) team that set up equipment built to reinforce damaged structures prior to the commencement of a rescue as well as utilising equipment that included industrial jackhammers and hydraulic ‘Jaws of Life’ for the purpose of prying open the jammed doors of vehicles. Tracking dogs handled by the Gurkha Reserve Unit were utilised to sniff out the locations of survivors that may be buried under rubble. A 24-man Malaysian contingent representing fire and rescue, police and armed forces personnel along with two war dogs handled by seven rangers were also involved. Engineering teams from both Vietnam and China assessed the areas in question in order to prioritise rescue operations with equipment such as infrared and ‘snake-eye’ life finders used as well as hydraulic machinery built specifically for these type of operations.

His Majesty also consented to visit the Medical Level 1 Tentage where he was briefed by Lieutenant Commander Kristie Robson, Emergency Medicine Physician in the United States of America Navy, where casualties from ground zero were sent to for treatment depending on the severity of the casualties.

Those that were severely injured were sent to Medical Level 2 at Muara Base by both land and air.

The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine exercise (HADR & MM) is a relief operation with the objectives of practising the set up of a Multi-National Coordination Centre to support an Integrated Control Centre; cooperation with an Air Coordination Centre for helicopter and naval evacuation of casualties; and the coordination of USAR teams with Level 1 medical teams regarding casualties. - Borneo Bulletin (21 June 2013)