National Guard Trains for Catastrophic Event - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

National Guard Trains for Catastrophic Event

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Members of the Nevada Army and Air National Guard are going through different emergency exercises, combining forces to prepare for large scale disasters that could occur in our region.

"We want to provide them with the most stringent, the most difficult scenarios as possible," Capt. Brett Eklund, of the Army National Guard said Friday.

The Guard's Civil Support Team and CERFP unit are ready to respond to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive threats.
Nearly 200 soldiers and airmen are involved in the disaster drill. It includes a carefully constructed pile of rubble that simulates a collapsed casino, after a plane crashed into it and landed on a train, loaded with chemicals. Some are rescuing victims while others are reinforcing walls.

"For this one, being a casino, a multi-story building coming down from an unknown explosion, this would be a bad scenario, a bad day for us to respond to," Capt. Charles Dickinson, Deputy Commander of the 92nd CST said.

The 92nd CST and the CERFP combine when civilian first responders need help during a large-scale catastrophe. They typically deal in Hazmat situations.

"These folks can come in here and help, supplement them and actually help get the situation under control with that specialized skill set," Eklund said.

Since the situation involves a chemical element, victims must be decontaminated before receiving medical treatment. Two lines are formed. One is for people too injured to walk. The other is for those who can. Units can handle 200 people hour.

"What I tell my soldiers and the airmen is it's one thing to go to war but if something happened here, domestically, we're actually saving our neighbors, our friends, our family members," Lt. Col. John Kruthaupt said.

These drills give airmen and soldiers the opportunity to work together, along with local civilian first responders.

"Opportunities like this build the relationship and build the understanding of what they can do and their capabilities," Dickinson said. "And it also informs them of what we can do and our capabilities."

While these guys hope they never have to use this training in a real situation, they say their level of preparedness is something that can't be matched.

"If you train at the hardest possible level that there is, anything that is not as severe is going to be a walk in the park," Eklund said.

The 92nd CST is based in Las Vegas but they are moving to Reno next year.  They say that will reinforce our civilian assets, saying they will be more useful and deployable in northern Nevada.
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