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West Virginia National Guard leads military and civilian emergency response exercise

Staff reports

The Exponent Telegram

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  — The West Virginia National Guard will conduct a multi-location training exercise July 20-25 in Preston, Monongalia and Kanawha counties, in conjunction with military and civilian emergency response units within FEMA Region III.

The exercise, Operation Dawson Storm, will immerse military units specialized to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) incidents in a regional level exercise to conduct defense support of civil authorities.

The event’s purpose is to increase interoperability not only between units within the WVNG, but also with local first responders throughout the region. Participating units will take part in real-world training scenarios to maximize their proficiency and response capabilities.

A scenario planned for July 22 in Morgantown, vicinity of Van Voorhis Road, will generate emergency vehicle and first responder activity. The public should take note of this planned increased activity, plus increased activity by first responders in Preston, Monongalia and Kanawha counties throughout the entire period.

“Operation Dawson Storm is a unique opportunity for our Guardsmen to work alongside their civilian counterparts to prepare for a variety of emergency scenarios that could affect our state and region in our ongoing commitment to the safety and security of our fellow citizens,” said Brig. Gen. Paige Hunter, Joint Inter Agency Task Force Commander.

FEMA Region III includes Washington DC, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Military participants include: Pennsylvania Homeland Response Force, West Virginia CBRNE Enhanced Response Package Illinois CBRNE Enhanced Response Package, New York CBRNE Task Force, 35th Civil Support Team, St. Albans,  34th Civil Support Team, Fort Pickett, Virginia, 3rd Civil Support Team, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania and Joint Interagency Training and Education Center (JITEC) 321 Ordnance (Army Reserve) Firefighters.

Civilian participants include: West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM), West Virginia Division of Forestry, West Virginia Task Force One,West Virginia Division of Corrections, Northern Regional Radiation Response Team, Federal Bureau of Investigation, West Virginia University Police, Preston County Emergency Operations Center, Kingwood Fire Department, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Monongalia County Health Department, Ruby Memorial Hospital and Mon General Hospital.

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