Calamityville in action

Sounds of explosions, circular saws cutting through plywood and buzzing of UAV’s filled the air during a live training at Wright State University’s Calamityville on June 23.

Government agencies from across the region, including the F.B.I., Ohio Department of Health, Ohio National Guard 52 CST, Ohio Department of Transportation UAS Center, and bomb squads from Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, gathered at Calamityville in Fairborn for the training.

Calamityville is a 54-acre disaster- and battlefield-training area with concrete passageway-filled buildings, silos, tunnels, ponds, cliffs and wooded areas. Training often uses unique props and realistic simulated settings to duplicate the full range of hazardous environments experienced in both human-made and natural disasters.

During the June 23 exercise, the participating agencies collaborated to combat a simulated apartment fire in which an individual created an explosive device filled with radioactive material.

“This is a great environment for us to do such a large-scale exercise,” said Jacob King, fire chief at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the conducting incident commander for the training exercise.

Wright State President Sue Edwards, Ph.D., attended the exercise and was happy to host the various agencies, some of which hadn’t participated in joint trainings in over a year.

“Over the pandemic things don’t stop in the real world,” said Edwards. “What’s great today … is really putting those plans into action, on the ground, in a live simulation which they really cannot do in a virtual world.”

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