☷Guard civil support teams conduct WMD training exercise
National Guard ( By Press Release office)
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RAPID CITY , S . D . – National Guard civil support teams from seven states and local , state and federal agencies conducted a regional training exercise throughout western South Dakota April 26 - 27 . The “Rushmore Roundup” exercise focused on military and civilian interoperability , communications and field operations in response to a weapon of mass destruction scenario . Locations involved included Mount Rushmore National Memorial , Badlands National Park , Custer State Park and Sanford Underground Research Facility . Capt . Michael Wollman , operations officer , 82nd Civil Support Team , South Dakota National Guard , said participants validated interagency coordination and response and reinforced tactics , techniques and procedures while building relationships with local and federal partners . The exercise involved the SDNG’s 82nd CST and CSTs from Alaska , Washington , Idaho , Montana , Nebraska and North Dakota . Partner agencies included the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management , Federal Bureau of Investigation , National Weather Service , RAP 5 – Department of Energy , Pennington and Custer County Offices of Emergency Management , and the Rapid City Fire Department . “This training is important because you just never know what is out there , ” said Capt . Erica Bermensolo , medical operations officer , 101st Civil Support Team , Idaho National Guard . “We had the anthrax scares 10 - plus years ago , but there are still calls to capitol buildings , municipal buildings , schools , etc . , and having a team to respond to that is invaluable . ”More than 100 participants responded to separate incidents over a 48 - hour period that challenged each team and responding agency to increase communication , develop interoperability and maintain operational response procedures during an incident . “We set up some realistic scenarios in each of the geographical locations so they can do what it is they do for a living and get good training value out of it , ” said Mark Beirne , exercise liaison , Emergency Response Training Institute . Civil Support Teams support civil authorities in an incident involving a weapon of mass destruction by identifying chemical , biological , radiological , and nuclear agents and advising how to respond . “This event is great for the CST’s outreach program . Because they are a civil support team , they deploy in support of civil authorities like fire departments and police agencies at the behest of the governor , “ said Beirne . “This exercise allows the teams around the area to get familiar with each other . ”The exercise participants were pleased with the training locations and support . “It’s nice to be able to be in all these beautiful areas and do great training that stresses us to see how equipped and responsive we can be , ” said Bermensolo . “South Dakota did an excellent job logistically; they have taken care of everything , ”
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