4-Day Training Evaluation Is Taking Place In Valhalla

VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hundreds of National Guardsmen from New York and New Jersey are undergoing training on how to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

The four-day annual training evaluation began Friday at the Westchester County Fire Training Center in Valhalla.

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Four hundred New York and 200 New Jersey soldiers and airmen are participating in exercises that simulate a train derailment chemical spill.

They are trained to search for and rescue victims at disaster sites, and decontaminate them if needed.

Lt. Col. Craig Missari said his team steps in when local response is overwhelmed and Washington calls in reinforcements.

“It takes a little while for them to mobilize federal forces so we are basically a stopgap,” Missari told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

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Engineers, medics and decontamination specialists are required to have the operation up and running in 90 minutes.

“It’s stressful, but everybody has a job to do and we all focus on that one job,” decontamination specialist Major Kilimitzoglu said.

The National Guardsmen train under Defense Department guidelines to respond to local authorities in New York, New Jersey, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico within 6 to 12 hours of a hazardous incident if assistance is needed.

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