The Delaware National Guard’s 31st Civil Support Team conducted training evaluations at Milford Middle School on Tuesday and Thursday, testing teams in real-life scenarios that present natural or man-made substances or explosives as possible catastrophic events.
The Milford Middle School may have been quiet since its closure last year, but it was filled with activity this week while the Delaware National Guard executed some very technical training.
The Delaware National Guard’s 31st Civil Support Team conducted training evaluations at the school on Tuesday and Thursday, testing teams in real-life scenarios that present natural or man-made substances or explosives as possible catastrophic events.
Thursday’s exercise set up the scenario of a student who was bullied and decided to take matters into his own hands, explained Captain Brian Malloy. The hypothetical situation placed a manmade bomb and an envelope with white powder in the school, while a 22-man team worked together to identify and clean up the contaminants.
This regular training exercise – during which no dangerous materials are actually used – is conducted at least every six months throughout various locations in each state, with different environments and scenarios to test the teams.
“It represents a real-world event,” Malloy said, as he pointed out the medical team, communications team, survey team, high-tech equipment and procedures that go along with responding to a possibly catastrophic scenario.
The location of the currently unused Milford Middle School was the perfect venue for the team’s exercise, Malloy said.
“That is a phenomenal asset,” he said. “I can’t speak enough to Milford and the Milford School District for letting us use this site. This is an awesome opportunity for us to train here.”
The purpose of the training is to allow practice for the team, which will respond to a site in which first responders, like the local fire department or police department, are unable to handle. Those first responders would contact DEMA to request National Guard support in identifying and clearing threats such as chemical agents or volatile organic compounds, like the anthrax that was hypothesized in Thursday’s training.
“It’s real world stuff,” Malloy said. He explained that the training scenarios are generally derived from news stories and catastrophic events that occur throughout the country.
“It’s a lot of man power that goes into the process, but it’s all to make sure they’re as safe as can be,” Malloy said.
Although the training site was not overwhelmed by inquisitive residents or passers-by, Malloy and Command Sgt. Major Mike Fields said they welcome questions from locals as an opportunity to educate the public.
“The more people know, the better sense of security we have,” Fields said.