DVIDS – News – National Guard, Civilian Agencies Conduct WMD Training Exercise


National Guard and civilian agencies conduct WMD training exercise

RAPID CITY, SD – The South Dakota National Guard, in partnership with several local, state and federal agencies, conducted a regional training exercise, April 26-27, throughout western South Dakota.

The “Rushmore Roundup” exercise focused on military and civilian interoperability, communications and field operations related to the response to a weapons of mass destruction incident. Incident sites included Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, and the Sanford Underground Research Center.

“Exercise Rushmore Roundup enables participants to validate interagency coordination and response, reinforce tactics, techniques and procedures, provide beneficial lessons to expose vulnerabilities and increase effectiveness, and establish relationships within our region, federal agencies and local agencies,” said Capt. Michael Wollman, operations officer, 82nd Civil Support Team, SDNG.

The exercise involved the 82nd CST from SDNG as well as CSTs from six other states (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota) and the following partner agencies: SD Office of Emergency Management, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Weather Service, RAP 5 – Department of Energy, Pennington and Custer County Emergency Management Offices, and Rapid City Fire Department.

“This training is important because you never know what’s going on out there,” said Capt. Erica Bermensolo, medical operations officer, 101st Civil Support Team, Idaho National Guard. “We had the Anthrax scare over 10 years ago, but there are still calls to capital buildings, civic buildings, schools, etc. and having a team to respond to them is invaluable. ”

Over 100 participants responded to separate incidents over a 48-hour period that challenged each response team and agency based on their goals, to achieve an increased level of communication between teams and their respective sections, to develop interoperability between local stakeholders and to maintain operational response procedures during an incident.

“We’ve set up realistic scenarios in each of the geographic locations so they can do what they do for a living and get good training value out of it,” said Mark Beirne, liaison for the exercise, Emergency Response Training Institute.

Civil Support Teams support civil authorities in the event of the use of a weapon of mass destruction at incident sites by identifying chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents or substances, assessing current and anticipated consequences, advising on response measures and responding to requests for additional support.

“This event is great for CSE’s outreach program as it is a civilian support team, they deploy in support of civil authorities like fire departments and police agencies when requested from the governor, Beirne said, “This exercise allows the teams in the area to become familiar with each other.”

Exercise participants were satisfied with the training locations and support.

“It’s nice to be able to be in all these beautiful areas and do some great training stressing us out to see how equipped and responsive we can be,” Bermensol said. “South Dakota did a great logistical job, they took care of everything,”

Date taken: 29.04.2022
Date posted: 29.04.2022 11:43
Story ID: 419615
Location: SD, United States

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