Published: 8/9/2012 4:49:15 PM
Fort Bragg chemical unit braves heat during decon operation
MUSCATATUCK URBAN TRAINING COMPLEX, Indiana —Soldiers, from the 21st Chemical Company, out of Fort Bragg, conduct decontamination training in sweltering heat at Mascatatuck Urban Training Complex, Ind., Aug. 1.
The chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists decontaminated role-players during Vibrant Response 13, a major field training exercise conducted by U.S. Northern Command and led by U.S. Army North.
“Our job is to mobilize in a very short timeline and respond to any kind of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attack,” said Spc. Anthony Collier, a CBRN specialist, from The Plains, Va. “It’s important that we are very proficient in our jobs from training like this and be able to apply that to a real world scenario, should that happen.”
The chemical company wore protective equipment in the high temperatures while they performed different stages of the decontamination process.
“We have a causality collection point up here,” said Collier of the beginning of the decontamination site. “The causalities come from the hot-zone and guys up front label (and triage) them. Then we have different lanes they get processed through. They get washed down … they get monitored … and then they get redressed in the rear tents.”
The protective equipment the Soldiers have to wear raises their body temperature and cause excessive sweating. Measures have to be taken to ensure the Soldiers do not suffer a heat injury.
“We always check each other. We drink a lot of water,” said Staff Sgt. Brett Mahl, a CBRN specialist and a native of Camden, N.Y. “We have ice water out here everywhere. We rotate out. Normally our rotations are an hour, but if someone says ‘I’m hot, I can’t do it anymore,’ we get them out and put someone else in. We do a lot of heat mitigation.”
Keeping the Soldiers healthy is necessary to maintain lifesaving and life-sustaining operations. These operations help protect the American population should a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident occur.
“We’re helping out the civilian population,” said Mahl. “We’re setting up the (decontamination) set so we can get these people in here and take off any contamination on their bodies so they can get sent on for further treatment. We’re here to help the people.”
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