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Exercise teaches WMD preparedness

By Erin Walkey | | July 18, 2013

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To educate personnel here about dealing with potential weapons of mass destruction threats, Georgia 4th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team from Marietta, Ga., conducted an exercise for the first time at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, July 11.
During the hourlong demonstration near the base’s old band hall building, the team showed how they would handle a potential suspicious package with an unknown powdery substance.
Base leadership, personnel and regional area civilian fire, law enforcement and emergency medical agencies aboard the installation as they thoroughly examined and searched through one of the installation’s buildings.
“We conduct training exercises so that people will be prepared in case of a real-world incident,” Shane Strickland, commander, 4th WMD-CST, said.
When responding to an incident each team member is dressed in a low profile uniform so they do not draw attention to a possible threat, Strickland said. The uniform consists of a black polo type shirt and khaki pants.
Willie Briskey, physical security chief, Public Safety Division, MCLB Albany, felt this training was an excellent opportunity for personnel to learn about potential threats.
“This gave us the opportunity to see and learn of potential dangers whether we be at work or at home, it could happen anywhere,” Briskey said.
There are 57 CST teams in the U.S., Strickland explained. Each state has at least one team. Teams are on call 24/7. When called to respond to a suspected issue, the standard time it takes to head to an incident is 90 minutes.
CST teams have many state-of-the-art technologies to accompany them when they respond to a call, he added. The 4th WMD-CST has an International Organization for Standardization accredited mobile analytical lab system. Only 22 of the 57 teams have this accreditation.
Georgia 4th WMD-CST consists of 22 active-duty Army and Air National Guard personnel, whose mission is to support civil authorities at an actual or suspected WMD incident by identifying chemical, biological and radiological agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures and assisting with appropriate request for additional state or federal support, he said.
“This team that visited base is in the top five of all 57 CSTs,” Mike Harris, installation emergency manager, Operations and Training Division, MCLB Albany, said.
For emergency response, call 1-800-879-4362.

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