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Minnesota National Guard
Civil Support Team trains with first responders

"What we know is a lab process went badly," said Maj Thomas Krenz, deputy commander for the Minnesota National Guard's 55th Civil Support Team "We're unsure what really is there"

Krenz was talking about a mock scenario that took place during a training exercise at the Public Works building Nov 17 in Maple Grove, Minn The Minnesota National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the Bloomington Police Department Bomb Squad and Maple Grove Fire Department worked together on the coordination of the exercise

"The exercise went really well," said Capt Daniel Price, operations officer with the 55th CST "Cooperation with Homeland Security, the City of Maple Grove and Bloomington Police Department helped to make it a realistic situation in a realistic situation"

The scenario for this exercise involved an unconscious individual in a lab and when paramedics arrived on the scene they weren't sure what was in the lab They called the Emergency Management office, which brought in the 55th CST and the Bloomington Bomb Squad

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The 55th CST's level of expertise includes working with the release of nuclear, biological, radiological, toxic or poisonous chemicals that result in or could result in catastrophic loss of life or property

When they arrive on the scene, the Soldiers immediately set up a decontamination tent and the survey team starts planning the objectives

They set up communication between the 55th CST team, other military organizations and the civilian agencies A Medical Response Vehicle is set up next to the decontamination tent to treat any members of the team that need medical assistance An Analytical Vehicle is also set up to run samples that may be gathered by the team

"It's always good to practice these things in a relaxed environment to see what works and what doesn't," said Kevin Reed, State Emergency Response Teams Coordinator "That way when it actually happens, it will be smoother"

Reed said it helps to actually work with the other organizations that you will work with during an actual emergency "It gives you a chance to build a trust and rapport with the teams you work with"

The State Emergency Response Teams and the 55th CST plan monthly training exercises to ensure they are ready for the real thing

"These are perishable skills that we all possess," said Krenz "If we don't go 'down range' and actually get hands-on work, we're going to lose those skills"

Story and photos by Master Sgt Rich Kemp
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
17 Nov, 2011

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