Dirty Bomb Exercise Ultimate Test for Urban Search and Rescue Teams

May 1st, 2019


In this episode (#62) of All Hazards we talk with Orange County Fire Captain Richard Ventura. He’s a member of the California Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 5 and is the director of the Southern Wind RDD US&R Full Scale Exercise. That’s the topic of conversation.  This is a learning based exercise that challenges US&R task forces in an environment that’s the next best thing to a real world event.

The scenario for Southern Wind 2019:

During the weeks of May 1st and 9th 2019, there will be a World Cup Soccer tournament held in Southern California. During the early morning hours of May 1st, a car bomb explodes at Union Station near downtown Los Angeles. Simultaneously another bomb explodes at the Stub Hub Center in Carson and the Exchange Mall (Del Valle) where prominent National Soccer Team is scheduled to make a public appearance; both explosions cause massive injuries and structural damage. At the Exchange Mall there is a partial collapse of the structure and a large fire. The adjacent Memorial Hospital (Del Valle) is seriously damaged. The source of the Exchange Mall explosion is a Radiological Dispersion Device RDD. As a result of the structural collapse at the Exchange Mall and Memorial Hospital, CA-TF6 and CA-TF8 will be activated.  US&R teams will assess the scenes and proceed to rescue survivors and save lives.

Participating Organizations:

California Task Force 2 (CA-TF2)

California Task Force 5 (CA-TF5)

California Task Force 6 (CA-TF6)

California Task Force 8 (CA-TF8)

Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) - HazMat 150



California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Orange County Fire Authority

FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue Response System







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Geared Up for “Super Thursday” at CSTI Hazmat Training

June 5th, 2018



Alex Cabassa, Cal OES Assistant Director, and CSTI Superintendent

Jim Tate, CSTI Emergency Management Coordinator Instructor-2

In this episode (#46) we take you to Super Thursday, a sort of “final exam day” for students attending the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) Hazmat Specialist course. We talk with Alex Cabassa, Cal OES Assistant Director, and CSTI Superintendent about the uniqueness of the course, its hands-on approach and the facility in which it takes place.  We also talk with Jim Tate, CSTI Emergency Management Coordinator Instructor-2. He talks about the training itself and what students learn and how important it is.  There is a companion video for this podcast which can be found at oesnews.com after Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Under the reorganization of Cal OES, CSTI has evolved into a statewide enterprise with responsibility for supporting training, exercises and education in wide variety of areas including but not limited to; emergency management, public safety, homeland security, hazardous materials, disaster recovery and crisis communications. CSTI is no longer just defined by the San Luis Obispo campus you may be familiar with, but is being developed into a more holistic resource to support your needs whether you are a government, non-profit or private sector organization.

Be sure to visit oesnews.com to watch the companion video and see the many pictures taken during Super Thursday!


California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI)


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Filling the HazMat Response Capability Gaps in California

May 15th, 2018

Cal OES and 12 assignee local government fire departments are parties to a contractual agreement permitting the use of the Cal OES Type II HazMat Response Vehicles for local emergency response, out-of-service HazMat vehicles, training, exercises, and other needs.  In return, the assignee fire departments are required to dispatch the Cal OES Type II HazMat Response Vehicles anywhere in the state staffed by the required number of HazMat-trained personnel as requested through the California Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System.  This brings the total number of “typed” HazMat Teams in California to 73.

In this episode we talk with a couple of department representatives who received an engine about what it means to their region, and we talked with a few of the Cal OES reps who worked hard to make these engines and their transfers happen.

  1. Larry Collins, Cal OES Deputy Chief, Fire & Rescue Branch
  2. Chuck Tobias, Cal OES Assistant Chief, Fire & Rescue Branch
  3. Jan Dunbar, Cal OES Assistant Chief, Fire & Rescue Branch
  4. Bill Schwarz, Engineer, Tracy Fire Department
  5. Lewis Broschard, Deputy Fire Chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

Some of the VIPs who attended the ceremony:

  • Deputy Fire Chief Lewis Broschard: Contra Costa Fire Protection District 
  • Public Information Officer Steve Hill: Contra Costa Fire Protection District 
  • Battalion Chief Will Pryor: Los Angeles County Fire Department
  • Sutter County Fire Chief: Yuba City Fire Department John Shalowitz 
  • Bill Fuller: Yuba City Fire Department,  Yuba City Administrative Analysis
  • Chief Brian Dempsey: Seaside Fire Department 
  • Battalion Chief Dan Weaver: Susanville Fire Department 
  • Alan Ernst: Modesto Fire Department
  • Division Chief Mike Lillie: Modesto Fire Department


Cal OES HazMat

Cal OES HazMat Publications

Cal OES Newsroom



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