Colorado Army National Guard, Off Airport Operations, CO, USA - Lakewood, 7 August 2010

From 5th to the 7th August the Colorado National Guard along with the West Metro Fire District and Colorado Task Force-One (CO-TF1) conducted a large scale emergency response exercise in Lakewood, Colorado which is a South Western Denver suburb.

The exercise included scenarios such as terrorist attacks using biological, radiological and chemical weapons, and the collapse of urban structures with trapped victims, all involving mass casualties.

The Colorado National Guard deployed their acronym laden Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosives (CBRNE), Enhanced Response Force Package (CERF-P) to deal with the situations. The CERF-P is an immediate response unit that deals with all the aspects of said threats which follows the general stages of most exercises, namely medical, evacuation, decontamination, search and rescue, communications and command and control.

They work alongside the civilian CO-TF1 which has similar capabilities and the exercise gives the opportunity for both agencies to work together in an emergency situation.

I went along to observe one of the final parts of the exercise which involved four H-60A Blackhawks from the Colorado Army National Guard's A Company 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation (A/2-135 GSAB) based at nearby Buckley AFB. They transported and dropped-off soldiers from the 200th Military Police Company in local green-belt land next to Bear Creek High School in Lakewood.

The helicopters were on the ground for less than five minutes and the soldiers were there to provide site security at the main exercise focus point.

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