This week, 25 military members of the Czech Republic are at the Texas Engineering Extension Service's (TEEX) Disaster City® participating in a full-scale exercise that simulates separate responses to terrorist attack and natural disaster.
The Czech team is jointly responding to the mock disasters with the Austin-based 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction - Civil Support Team, which is a unit of the Texas Military Forces with specialization in response to chemical, biological or radiological incidents. TEEX's Urban Search & Rescue division is not only facilitating this effort, but it's also working alongside the joint team throughout the exercise.
On Wednesday, the combined Czech/WMD-CST team will respond to a tornado-ravaged downtown Disaster City® and coordinate its actions with those acting as city officials, since all incidents begin and end with the local communities - in this case, with College Station's Mayor Ben White, City Manager Glenn Brown and Fire Chief R.B. Alley. In addition, College Station's hazardous materials team also will be part of the staged emergency response. The Wednesday disaster scenario is expected to include collapsed structures, such as a hospital, rubble piles and evidence of radiation.
Elements of Texas Task Force 1 have trained with nearly a dozen of the nation's 55 U.S. Civil Support Teams. These unique interactions, such as those experienced this week, have led to increased communications within the local, state and federal response system.