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Michigan Guard’s CST conducts civil first responder training

By Master Sgt. David Eichaker | Michigan National Guard | July 10, 2020

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The Michigan National Guard’s 51st Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Civil Support Team (CST) based out of Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta trained with local authorities in Traverse City June 23-25.

“We continue building our partnerships with Michigan communities by conducting joint civil authority training,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Kelly Black, 51st WMD-CST commander, Michigan Air National Guard.

Members of the Michigan Guard conducted emergency rescue training with North Flight Emergency Medical Services, the Grand Traverse metro and rural fire department hazardous materials (HAZMAT) teams and the Grand Traverse County Sherriff’s Department.

Training with civilian authorities fosters the sharing of best practices and improved efficiency.

“It is always a great experience to work with other agencies and share how we all complete the mission at hand,” said Army 1st Lt. Georgie Juday, 51st WMD-CST survey team leader, Michigan Army National Guard.

The training included the appropriate medical response for a HAZMAT incident with injuries.

“The HAZMAT environment a WMD-CST works within is hazardous and to minimize risk, it’s necessary to train to react to threats.” said Black. “For example, if someone on-scene is injured while wearing a HAZMAT suit, they must be efficiently extracted, decontaminated and medically treated.”

This CST is one of the 57 WDM-CSTs in the National Guard, located in every state, U.S. territory, and Washington, D.C. The team supports civil authorities by identifying HAZMAT agents and substances and advising on response measures.

“All of the agencies are able to learn from one another even if it is something as simple as how they store equipment or are using an everyday item to enhance the training – it is improving all of the agencies,” Juday said, adding that the coordination “creates a more robust and dynamic response, which ultimately makes everyone safer.”