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Press Release
July 25, 2006
Oregon National Guard incident response team receives certification from the Department of Defense
An Oregon National Guard unit dedicated to assisting first responders in the early hours of an emerging crisis received certification from the Department of Defense July 24.
With the certification, the 102nd Weapons of Mass Destruction - Civil Support Team is fully qualified to support first responders throughout Oregon in the immediate aftermath of a WMD incident.
"We bring capabilities most of the first responders don't have," said Lt. Col. Steve Ferrell, commander of the 102nd CST. "We assist them with identifying what type of nuclear, biological, or chemical agent may have been used; we advise them on whether it's best to evacuate or shelter in place; and we provide communication through secure and non-secure satellite networks."
Certification by DOD means Oregon has acquired all the equipment, personnel, and training needed for authorization to support local authorities. Ferrell said each of the 22 full-time members of the 102nd CST have more than 750 hours of training, and each is trained to the level of a HAZMAT technician. The equipment the 102nd CST uses includes a mobile laboratory, communication vehicles, and decontamination equipment used to keep the unit functioning in a WMD environment.
Although the 102nd CST has excellent capabilities, it is designed to augment and support first responders rather than direct the response. There are civil support teams throughout the several states and territories, with each having at least one team. In addition, the CSTs will be integrated into the National Response Plan to provide support to other states if needed.
A CST is designed to rapidly deploy to an incident, assess the effects of a terrorist attack or crisis, and provide situational understanding to first responders and incident commanders at local, county, state, and federal levels. The goal is to minimize the impact on civilian populations and facilitate requests for follow-on emergency and military support by civil authorities.
"This certification by the Secretary of Defense is an indication to Congress that we have the right equipment, training and personnel to provide assistance to first responders who don't have the capabilities we offer them."
The 102nd CST has trained with first responders throughout the state, and is now certified to support them directly. Three other states, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Rhode Island also earned certification.
Oregon National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kay Fristad
cell 503-931-5179
Capt Mike Braibish
cell 503-932-5805