FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010
Air Force Maj. Elena O'Bryan
Army Capt. Michael Odgers
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (8/4/10) – The Colorado National Guard, in conjunction with the West Metro Fire District and Colorado Task Force-One (CO-TF1) will be conducting a large-scale emergency response exercise at the new West Metro Fire Training Rescue Center in Lakewood, Colo., Aug. 5-7.
The three-day exercise will involve multiple realistic scenarios of mass casualty events in which local authorities will request assistance from the Colorado National Guard. Approximately 600 Soldiers, Airmen, first responders, evaluators, and role players will participate in this exercise involving a hypothetical terrorist attack using biological, radiological, and chemical weapons, the collapse of urban structures, and trapped victims.
The responding Colorado National Guard unit is the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives, (CBRNE)-Enhanced Response Force Package (CERF-P).
A CERF-P is a rapidly-deployable National Guard unit capable of providing immediate response capability to a Governor for a CBRNE incident. CERF-P has five primary capabilities: medical, which provides evaluation and triaging for evacuation; decontamination; search and extraction, which searches for victims and extracts them from collapsed structures; communications; and command and control. A CERF-P has 200 Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen.
The exercise will employ interagency operability and the National Guard’s ability to provide support to civilian authorities in a time of disaster, whether man-made or natural. Members of the West Metro Fire District will act as civilian authorities.
CO-TF1 has firefighters, medical personnel, dog handlers, and structural engineers along the Front Range who are trained to conduct urban search and rescue operations for local, state and national disasters. Like the CERF-P, CO-TF1 is another unit that would be called upon if an incident requires more assets than local first responders can provide.
“One of the cornerstones of the National Guard’s value is its ability to rapidly respond during domestic emergencies, providing defense support to civil authorities,” said Maj. Gen, H. Michael Edwards, the adjutant general of Colorado. “The Colorado National Guard can be found in more than 20 communities across Colorado.”
“This exercise builds and enforces our relationship with the Colorado National Guard, which helps the Task Force when responding to local, state and national disasters with the Guard. Building these relationships prior to an event is extremely important and we are very fortunate to have training opportunities like this one to make this happen,” said Rod Tyus, CO-TF1 program manager.
Saturday morning’s scenario will involve four Colorado Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., that will land near the training site and transport Soldiers to provide site security as a National Guard Reaction Force. The CERF-P will stage a few blocks away before moving to the training site.
The Lakewood Police Department will provide traffic control in the area to ensure the safety of motorists and observers.
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