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Local Authorities Practice for Terrorist Attack

The ability for a city to respond to terrorist threats, especially those involving dangerous chemical agents, has increased since nine-eleven.

On Tuesday, the Springfield-Greene County Homeland Security Response Team conducted a training exercise.

KSMU's Matt Petcoff reports on how the many groups that make up the H-S-R-T work together...

The scene resembled something out of a science fiction novel.

There were men in green and white suits, breathing from air tanks... some even carrying guns.

These men were faced with the task of completely decontaminating themselves, as if they had just been on scene at an incident involving harmful chemicals.

Ryan Nichols is the Director of Emergency Management for Springfield-Greene County.

He says there were two goals they hoped to accomplish during this training.

First, force the Springfield Police Department Special Response Team and the Springfield Fire Department Hazardous Material team to train together for a complete decontamination...something that has not been done before.

Second, time the process... for both individuals and the group as a whole.

The training involved both the Special Response Team and Haz-Mat team suiting up completely.

S-R-T members then went through a series of three showers.

They were then de-suited and had their vitals checked.

After all S-R-T members were clean, Haz-Mat memebers then had to decontaminate themselves.

Overseeing this process was Karen McKinnis, she's the Community and Environmental Health Planner with the Springfield Greene-County Health Department.

She says members of both teams wouldn't be able to interact with civilians during a crisis without first being decontaminated.

Springfields Homeland Security Response Team is part of a state wide system of teams that can be sent anywhere in the state.

This September, the group will participate in a statewide drill in Nevada, Missouri.