County, U.S. Army to Collaborate on Hazmat, Emergency Training
“We don’t want people to get worried if they see guys in hazmat suits all over the airport.”
By Brandi Makuski
An Army Reserve unit will be on the city’s northeast side on Saturday for a large-scale training event.
Junction City’s own 388th Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Company (CBRN) will be working with county, city and village emergency crews to practice an emergency scenario at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport.
“It’s just an exercise in capability,” said Matt Dykstra, the county’s emergency management director. “We don’t want people to get worried if they see guys in hazmat suits all over the airport.”
Dykstra said county EMS officials, as well as fire and law enforcement from the county, Stevens Point, Hull and Plover would all be present for the exercise. The Madison-based 409th Medical Company, also an Army Reserve unit, will also be participating.
“This way if anything does happen- a natural disaster, a major agricultural spill, things like that, we’ll be ready,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Catherine Threat, who is attached to the Junction City unit, said the exercise helps emergency crews understand how to handle the unknown.
“In these types of situations you never really know what can happen next,” Threat said. “It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected, and having a working relationships with other emergency responders can be the difference between life and death.”
The exercise, known as a “battle assembly”, will take place throughout the day on Oct. 3. While the road near the airport will be open, the event is not open to the public and the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office will be handling traffic and entrance to the airport will be restricted.
Check back on Saturday, or find us on Facebook, for interviews and photos from the event.