Soldiers and airmen from the New York National Guard responded to a “train derailment and chemical spill” on Friday in Valhalla.
There were no reports of injuries, fatalities, or even property damage, however, as it was all part of a training evaluation Friday afternoon at the Westchester County Fire Training Center.
“This is to be prepared for chemical, biological, radiological — those worst case scenarios,” said Army Col. Richard Goldenberg. “This is a specially trained and designed team that is meant to bridge the gap between local responders and all the assets of a federal government that can take a number of hours to get to a site.”
According to Goldenberg, the unit is called the Homeland Response Force which works in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The soldiers support FEMA region II of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The training exercise they must execute involves three elements: Search and Extraction, Decontamination and Triage.
“This allows us to look at everything holistically,” said Goldenberg. “We get to see everything start to finish, soup to nuts. Can we pull it off? Can we get it set up together? Can we have the medical team linked to the decontamination team? Does the communication work for everybody? That’s the real benefit of a collective training exercise.”
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