ERIE, Colo. – Colorado Army and Air National Guard service members pried through pounds of wreckage, investigating every inch of rubble in a determined search for survivors March 8.
The Colorado National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package spends a weekend once every three months combing through a mock incident site.
According to the National Guard website, the CERFP duties include extracting and rescuing casualties trapped in rubble, decontaminating them, and performing medical treatment to stabilize them for transport to a medical facility.
Each drill weekend, a different real-world situation is executed. From tornadoes to chemical attacks, the Soldiers and Airmen of CERFP are trained to respond quickly. During the most recent drill, CERFP members were called in for a simulated explosion at Sports Authority Field, home of the Denver Broncos. Members practiced donning chemical gear, chemical alarm procedures, and decontaminating and medically treating victims at the West Metro Fire Training Center.
"This past weekend was an event to practice our mission skill set and set us up for success when we participate in the National Guard Bureau Vigilant Guard Exercise in Salt Lake City, Utah," said U.S. Army Capt. Timothy Trimbur, CERFP decontamination commander, from the 147th Brigade Support Battalion.
The sum of all their hard work and training has allowed the Soldiers and Airmen of CERFP to respond effectively to several real emergency situations in the past few years. Recently, the CERFP deployed two search and extraction teams during the Colorado floods to assist in search and rescue.
"While no one ever wishes for an emergency incident, it is very gratifying to be a part of a response that helps," Trimbur said.
Although the mission can get difficult, Trimbur explained the most fulfilling part of his job is the utmost appreciation of the people he helps.
"Just a simple 'Thank you for what you do,' makes everything we do on a day-to-day basis worth it," Trimbur said. "It's why I get up every morning and put on the uniform."