University hosting national Dense Urban Terrain Exercise with U.S. Army, Metro Nashville Davidson County Aug. 9–10

Vanderbilt University will host interagency training exercises on campus Wednesday, Aug. 9, and Thursday, Aug. 10. The training exercises are designed to assess and evaluate local, state and federal response readiness to a critical incident in a dense urban environment.

The U.S. Army Task Force 46, a specialized homeland security response unit, is partnering with first responder and health care partners and civilian agencies in Nashville for the Dense Urban Terrain exercise. The joint training, which will include more than 1,000 participants, will evaluate interagency planning, search and rescue, communications, and emergency systems during simulated chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident responses.

Army aviation assists Task Force 46 during Dense Urban Terrain exercise in Philadelphia (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Joe Legros)

Chancellor Daniel Diermeier will help kick off the events on Tuesday, Aug. 8, during an academic symposium where participants will share best practices and lessons learned ahead of the exercise. Janey Camp, research professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Transportation and Operational Resiliency (VECTOR), will speak during the symposium.

University and medical center employees and guests should expect to see a large number of uniformed military personnel as well as Metro Nashville first responders in the area of 25th Avenue and Children’s Way during the two-day exercise. While access to West Garage on Children’s Way will not be affected, parking on Children’s Way (lot 102) will be reserved from Aug. 7 to Aug. 10.

“The City of Nashville provides an excellent venue to exercise these skills with the goal of building unity of effort among interagency partners in consequence management response and to facilitate information sharing, interoperability and coordination in the event of a significant incident or complex catastrophic incident requiring a national response,” said Capt. Alonzo Roberson with the 46th Military Police Command.

738th MCAS and Philadelphia Fire Department team during DUT Philadelphia (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Joe Legros)

The exercises on campus will focus on urban search-and-rescue operations and patient transport capabilities. To train and evaluate these functions, military personnel and Metro Nashville first responders will test rappelling, patient extraction, and air and ground equipment for patient movement. Black Hawk helicopters will be used in the exercises for patient transport on campus and throughout the Nashville area during the training days.

The Vanderbilt University Office of Emergency Management has been coordinating with participants and internal stakeholders to prepare and manage activities on campus. The Emergency Operations Center will be activated to monitor and support these activities on Aug. 9 and 10.

Other partners in the effort include the Nashville Fire Department, Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, Nashville Office of Emergency Management and the Tennessee National Guard. Field exercises will also be conducted at the CSX Rail Yard, Nissan Stadium, Bridgestone Arena and other partnering hospitals, among other locations.

The first DUT training exercise was in Detroit in 2018; the series has included cities like Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia.