This is only a test | SierraSun.com

This is only a test

Christine StanleySierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun Dressed in encapsulated HazMat suits, members of the Army National Guard 95th division Civil Support Team use radiological detection equipment during homeland security training at Truckee Tahoe Airport Tuesday morning.
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At 6 a.m. on Tuesday first responders rushed to the Truckee-Tahoe Airport to investigate an apparent explosion of radioactive materials. The airport is intact. The mock explosion was a drill. Dozens of emergency personnel from the Truckee Fire Protection District, the Truckee Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the California National Guard descended upon Truckees airport this week for three days of homeland security drills. Its not about weapons, its not about targets, its not about the bad guys. Its about community responders getting together to train and learn from each other so that our community is more resilient, said Mike Scott, airport assistant general manager.This weeks series of situational drills is primarily intended for the National Guards 95th Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction. The team scheduled the time slot for the drill months ago so that it could train in severe weather conditions. However, Tuesday at lunch time the temperature was 57 degrees. We wanted the worst weather conditions. I wanted to be in the middle of a blizzard because we are training for the most extreme (situations), said Lt. Col. Jeff Smiley, commander of the 95th.The 95th is based in the Bay Area and is capable of rapid response to chemical, biological and radiological threats. Responders act primarily in Northern California, but assist in parts of Nevada and Alaska as well, Smiley said. Because the Civil Support Team is constantly participating in emergency response drills nationwide, Smiley said, its members have trained with hundreds of fire departments and are accustomed to sharing tactics, techniques and procedures between districts. This is something that we are going to try to do on a more regular basis because we would like to be on a first-name basis with these guys, said Truckee Fire Capt. Rod Brock. Its good to know what kind of equipment they have on board and what their capabilities are, in case we are in a situation where our own resources are overwhelmed.The Truckee Fire Protection District and other local responders participate in monthly hazardous material drills without the California National Guard.

The Truckee Tahoe Airport is the host-site for the California National Guards 95th Civil Support Team multi-agency homeland security training exercises. The three-day training will involve response to nuclear, chemical and/or biological incidents and accidents, as well as defensive winter driving training. Day 1: Teams will practice response to an incident after the alert and subsequent deployment. Day 2: Training by the California Highway Patrol involving driving with slick, wintry conditions. Day 3: Continued follow up to the incident from Day 1 to refine and expand skills.




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