The 73rd Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team completed two training lanes in Wichita July 25 and 27 as a part of U.S. Army North response training exercise. The training scenarios were designed by the U.S. Army North’s Civil Support Training Activity and integrated first responders from Wichita and Sedgwick County. This exercise helps the team prepare for their U.S. Army North EXEVAL next March.
The team received the first call Tuesday evening to respond the Sedgwick County Zoo in support of the local fire department.
“Real world responses don’t always happen during the duty day, so it was good to conduct an overnight mission, “said Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Moulden, Information Systems noncommissioned officer.
“The scenario was that a zoo worker discovered unknown substances in a storage container and received chemical burns,” said Lt. Col. Justin Nusz, commander of the 73rd CST. “Local law enforcement and fire/hazmat were called, and they eventually called us. We used the information the hazmat team gathered and made our plan.
“We sent one team in using a powered air purifying respirator. They screened the container for all the unknown substances and brought back two samples to test in our mobile lab. The result was that it was a virus that appears was purchased and planned to be dispersed in a public place.”
The second scenario began as members of the 73rd CST conducted a pre-event sweep of Hartman Arena with a Joint Hazards Assessment Team that included local law enforcement officers, hazmat, and bomb technicians.
“This is a mission we often perform before major sporting events or concerts and we have conducted tabletop exercises on how we would mobilize and integrate the rest of the team should something occur,” said Nusz “This scenario allowed us to test these procedures.”
The scenario grew as the team discovered suspicious packages in the arena and called in additional responders to assist, including the rest of the 73rd CST.
“Once again, local fire/hazmat had already made an entry and we used their information to make our plan,” said Nusz. “We sent one team in wearing Level A protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus. They collected two samples and brought them back to our mobile lab. This was, once again, identified as a virus.”
Nusz said both scenarios included a “man-down” aspect that required a backup team to retrieve the injured team member and bring them through the decontamination line to be handed off to the medical team.
“This is a complicated process to make sure they get properly decontaminated and prepared for medical treatment,” said Nusz.
“The scenarios are designed to be as realistic as possible, starting at local law enforcement levels and building up to the CST being called in. It tests the team’s ability to link up with our partners and analyze the information they provide to build our plan.”