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Minnesota National Guard
55th Civil Support Team trains with interagency partners in Duluth

Minnesota National Guard DULUTH, Minn- Members of the 55th Civil Support Team conducted a full-scale training exercise on Lake Superior, June 3, 2014, in conjunction with the Coast Guard, Duluth Fire Department, Duluth Chemical Assessment Team and the University of Minnesota The exercise took place in an environment where the Guardsmen don't usually spend a lot of their time - aboard a 750-foot ship on Lake Superior

"Ships typically have confined spaces, dark spaces, places where it's difficult to operate in," said Lt. Col. Eric DiNatale, commander of the 55th CST

The 55th Civil Support Team performs duties in support of emergency preparedness programs to prepare for or respond to emergencies involving the use or threatened use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction, a terrorist attack or threatened terrorist attack, an intentional or unintentional release of nuclear, biological, radiological or toxic or poisonous chemicals, or natural or manmade disasters

"Our response is part of a tiered approach," said DiNatale "The locals deal with it initially and then call the state duty officer for that next escalation for us to respond as a state asset"

The exercise helped to build and strengthen relationships between the Soldiers and the local first responders they would deal with in the event of a real response

"It's great to put a face with a name before there's an incident," said DiNatale "It's been about two years since our team has done an exercise like this with Duluth Fire We do quarterly meetings, so we have good contact with them, but this is our first opportunity to actually get out and train in awhile"

"It's always great to get out and work with our interagency partners," DiNatale said "We learned a lot of best practices from them, as well as we were able to share some of our best practices with our partners"

June 13, 2014
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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