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Idaho Civil Support Team Guardsmen Train With Firefighters

  • Published
  • By Mike Freeman,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Idaho National Guard

GOODING, Idaho -  The Idaho National Guard’s 101st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team trained alongside firefighters from Gooding, Bliss and Hagerman Feb. 2. 

The training provided a better understanding of how first responders in these small rural Idaho towns can integrate the CST’s assets and expertise with their own to enhance effectiveness in emergencies involving hazardous materials or chemicals.

Kevin Hungate, a U.S. Department of Energy regional manager for Radiological Assistance Program Team 6, observed the training. 

“Training evolutions like this give us the opportunity to meet these other agencies and build trust,” said Hungate. “These are really good relationship-building tools for us.”

The training began with a briefing and tabletop exercise to familiarize the firefighters with how the CST can help them evaluate and contain affected areas, freeing first responders to focus on more immediate tasks or emerging threats.

The CST Guardsmen then demonstrated specialized technology and techniques to scan and detect potentially harmful chemical agents and radiological sources. The exercise ended with a demonstration of personnel decontamination procedures.

Gooding Fire Chief Steven Bishop said the training was valuable.

“I wasn’t aware of this team at all until they called and talked to us,” said Bishop. “We have limited capabilities in this area, so this is very beneficial to hear about. It’s another resource we can use in certain types of situations that we didn’t have before.”

The 101st WMD CST can respond around the clock to requesting first responders to identify chemical, biological and radiological agents; recommend mitigation, medical treatment and follow-on resources; and provide on-site communications connectivity.

Lt. Col. John McDaniel, commanding officer of the 101st, said the unit’s outreach program enhances the ability to work effectively with first responders in times of crisis.

“Any time we have a chance to work with emergency managers from our neighboring communities, that’s a huge win for us and for the community,” said McDaniel.