"Mock Disaster" Prepares Community for Real Emergencies

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

The threat level for terrorism is on high alert nationwide, but local attempts are underway to prepare for such a disaster.

The 41st Civil Support Team, commonly called "CST" was in Alvaton, Ky. on July 25, 2007, performing a "mock" disaster by weapons of mass destruction with local First Responders at Alvaton Elementary School.

If a disaster were to happen, you'll know it's severity by seeing "CST."

Their unit is the military's first response to a weapons of mass destruction event.

As the 22-person unit geared up in Hazmat suits next to the new Alvaton Elementary school, local media arrived demanding answers.

"We just heard something going on. People are calling us. There's police cars, EMS and Hazmat, what's going on?" reporter Gene Birk questioned.

"The 41st CST has been called out to support local First Responders. We can't tell you much," Lt. Col. Davis replied.

Birk keeps hammering Davis with questions as CST goes about its job investigating the vacant building next to the new school.

"I appreciate that colonel, but we need more information than that. This is a residential community!" Birk exclaimed.

CST is preparing for hazardous material as they enter the building.

In the event of a disaster, media wouldn't be allowed this close to the crime scene. But to the untrained eye, it looks like a methlab.

"It's what's inside that building that we don't know. I'm not able to get better information right now," Birk explained.

Here, CST is taking samples of what they see inside the building. They're mic-ed up inside these suits and are giving the information back to other responders outside at a control post.

What CST can tell us for now is it's dangerous material and no one should enter without a Hazmat suit on. That's why Lt. Col. Davis isn't giving Birk much information.

"We don't know what's in there yet to say it's safe. It could be a natural gas leak, Hazmat materials, poison gas or terrorism. It's this close to the elementary school, tell me something!" Birk said.

"What I can tell you is there's nothing to be alarmed about," Davis responded.

Davis is doing his job by keeping a calm presence near the media, but Birk also has a job to do.

Although we didn't find out what kind of materials were inside the building, we do know this exercise prepared community responders to better serve you.

Remember, this was a mock disaster so First Responders are prepared and know what to do in an actual emergency situation.

For ways to prepare at home, click here.

To learn more about the 41st Civil Support Team, check out these links:
http://media.graytvinc.com/documents/
http://media.graytvinc.com/documents/


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