CREST Test Earns an “A”
|OCC is site of state’s largest
emergency preparedness drill
“This is a test. Repeat… this is only a test…” but what a test
it was on September 25, as OCC’s Combined Regional Emergency
(CREST) facility on the Auburn Hills Campus became a test site
in the TOP- EX (Total Operational Preparedness Exercise) for
Oakland County’s emergency response and preparedness system. The
eight-hour drill – the largest in the state’s history - involved
more than 500 people, including virtually all of Oakland
County’s sheriff, police and fire departments; the FBI; the
National Guard; the county’s four hazardous materials response
teams; three county emergency management offices; the Oakland
County Health Division; 13 hospitals; and even the Salvation
Army, which provided food and shelter to mock victims, many of
whom were OCC student volunteers.
The drill involved two simultaneous mock disaster scenarios: one
in Lake Orion where a staged train derailment leaked simulated
deadly chemicals; and
the other at CREST, where a SWAT team discovered “terrorists”
trying to make a dirty bomb in one of CREST’s three houses.
CREST is unique in nation
This kind of reality-based training is what OCC’s
$15-million CREST facility is all about. CREST is unique - the
only facility of its kind in the country – and has become a
national model for providing police, fire and EMT personnel with
scenario-based training – training that’s taken on new meaning
and dimensions since the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
The FBI, the Secret Service, Oakland County Sheriff’s Special
Response Team and the Troy Police Department’s elite Tactical
Support Team have staged training exercises or visited the
22-acre “city” with an eye to using it for future training
Oakland County Sheriff Department’s Special Response Team
(SWAT) members guard a manikin used as the “bomb suspect” at
OCC’s CREST facility during the September 25 countywide
emergency preparedness drill.
The fire-simulation technology facility at CREST is
In the coming months, technology will be installed that
will allow first responders to train with real, but carefully
controlled fires inside the building.
unique - the only
facility of its kind in the
country – and has become a
national model for providing
police, fire and EMT personnel
with scenario-based training.
British Bobbies visit CREST
This August, nearly two dozen Bobbies from Britain and the
Commonwealth visited CREST to get firsthand experience in the latest
The group of male and female police officers from England, Wales,
Bermuda and the Bahamas worked with the Oakland County Sheriff
Department’s elite Special Response (SWAT) Team, learning to use
firearms (which most of Britain’s law enforcement personnel do not
carry) and tasers – non-lethal weapons that shock subjects into
submission. CREST has real buildings, streets…and special
fire-simulation structure CREST already boasts three furnished houses, a
convenience store and gas station, a replica of a working bank (named
for donor Standard Federal), a motel and a school. It has working
traffic signals, sidewalks, and streets named in honor of area
businesses and foundations that
have made significant contributions in cash and services to the project.
Currently, an innovative fire-simulation technology facility is being
completed on the CREST site. This facility will be equipped with special
computer-controlled technology that will give firefighters, police and
other emergency workers hands-on experience in fighting the types of
fires that they will encounter in homes, businesses and industries.
OCC wins government grant for CREST In September, OCC won a grant
totaling $248,375 from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will
underwrite the development of a model curriculum for the combined
training of first responders – law enforcement, fire and emergency
medical personnel – at CREST. To develop the curriculum, CREST staff
members will work with emergency response experts to design a range of
In addition, local and regional agencies may design their own scenarios
and practice them at CREST.