ST. GEORGE — Operation Red Rocks continued on Wednesday with joint exercises involving the St. George Fire Department, the Southwest Regional Response Team and the Utah National Guard’s 85th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team at the Dixie State University campus.
Wednesday’s exercise is part of a weeklong annual training and involves a scenario in which a terrorist threat involving hazardous materials exists in the tunnels below the Snow Science Center, Dixie State University Fire Marshal Josh Thayn said.
Today’s exercise also includes National Guard Civil Support Teams from Colorado, Nevada and Utah. This week’s training involves a domestic terrorist incident across multiple scenes on multiple days and dealing with the hazardous materials, Lt. Col. Kevin Black with the Colorado Eighth Civil Support Team said.
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Videocast by Amber Green, St. George News
Every state has a civil support team that serves the governor and can be called in by first responders to assist in dealing with radioactive, chemical or biological threats, Black said. A lot of smaller departments do not have the equipment or expertise to handle those types of threats, he said.
The No. 1 benefit of a training exercise such as this is developing the partnerships, Black said, and establishing good working relationships with the other agencies.
Another team on scene, the 85th Civil Support Team has specialized equipment and training which allows them to detect chemical or other hazardous materials, Team Sgt. First Class Jason Myers said.
Based out of the Salt Lake City area, Myers said their team could be in St. George within 4 1/2 hours if needed. “We bring a different specialization to HAZMAT, a different level or tier of expertise,” Myers said.
The training exercises will continue through Friday at various locations in Washington County.
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