Training for Chemical Emergencies
"The incident can change, but the EOC, the Emergency Operations Center, requirements are about the same," said Col. Leslie Smith of the 3rd Chemical Brigade.
Fort Leonard Wood conducts four practice sessions each year to prepare for terrorist attacks, chemical spills or other emergencies. This training excercise included locking down the base while firefighters contained the chemical by decontaminating every affected person.
"When they leave here, they go to Iraq or Afghanistan," explained Col. Theresa Sullivan, hospital commander. "They're going to have the same type of scenario, and they're ready to respond to chemical casualties."
After cleaning up the make-believe mess, participants filed their reports for evaluation.
"What were the good things that we did well? What were the bad things that we did? And then, how can we improve our plan?" Smith said.
Military officials will carefully re-examine that plan in the next few weeks. They didn't tell soldiers about the training exercise until it started in order to better prepare them for real emergencies.