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Minnesota National Guard
Guard Hazardous Materials team trains with Fire Department

In any emergency situation community entities come together to provide teams of professionals ready to support, contain and maintain a situation

The St Paul Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Team (HAZMAT) Team recently requested assistance and advise on their decontamination process from the Minnesota National Guard's 55th Civil Support Team

The purpose of the training was to assist their community partners in refining their decontamination processes during emergency situations

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"We welcome the opportunity to train with our local, state and federal first responders," said Staff Sgt Amanda Kasten, administration noncommissioned officer of the 55th Civil Support Team  "We will continue to foster interagency coordination for future training events in preparation for real world response missions"

The members of the 55th CST observed and advised ways the Saint Paul Fire Department could improve their process by running personnel through a technical decontamination line, focusing on good doffing techniques, while specifically targeting nerve and anthrax

In a real-world situation, the St Paul Fire HAZMAT team is the first to respond to an incident in their jurisdiction  If they advise the Incident Commander (IC) that they need the 55th CST's support, the IC will alert the State Duty Office 

Since the 55th CST will not be the first responders on-scene, they depend on teams like Saint Paul Fire's CAT to arrive and provide the preliminary assessment and initial decontamination set-up Multiple agency responses to a HAZMAT incident are more successful when prior joint training and collaboration has occurred

Events like these assist in familiarizing both agencies with each other's response operations and how they can work together to achieve the same end result  It allows them to work together when the consequences of a mistake are a teaching point versus a lost life 

June 28th, 2012
Story and photos by Staff Sgt Lynette Hoke
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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