The CDP welcomes 45 members of the California National Guard’s 140th Chemical Company to training this week. The soldiers are divided up, 20 are taking the Hazardous Materials Technician for CBRNE Incidents (HT) while the other 25 are taking Emergency Responder Hazardous Materials Technician for CBRNE Incidents (ERHM).

The 140th is part of the 224th Special Troops Battalion, based out of Long Beach, Calif. The 224th Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Norland Flores (front row, center), and Command Sgt. Maj. Roddrick Pullen (front row, left), flew in from California to visit their soldiers and tour the CDP. They are joined by the 140th Company Commander, Capt. Christopher Schoenwandt (front row, left) who is taking the HT course this week.

HT is a demanding five-day course that challenges the hazardous materials technician with an extensive hands-on training experience. The technician will demonstrate learned skills in response actions to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruction incident in both the Center’s outdoor Northville training complex and nation’s only toxic chemical training facility (chemical and biological materials) dedicated solely to training the nation’s emergency responders.

ERHM is also a five-day course. It provides training based on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for hazardous materials (HAZMAT) training. Participants receive hands-on training in identifying HAZMAT, using advanced surveying and monitoring equipment, selecting and using the appropriate level of personal protective equipment (PPE), and performing decontamination procedures. As an added benefit, graduates of the ERHM class are afforded the opportunity to take the Alabama Pro-Board certification exam for HazMat Technician certification.

The 140th Chemical Company is part of a California National Guard CERFP Team. CERF-P stands for Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) enhanced

response force packages. The CERFPs locate and extract victims from a contaminated environment, perform mass patient/casualty decontamination, and provide treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.

“Obviously, this is first-class training,” Flores said. “It would be hard to replicate this level of specialized training in California.”

CERFP teams are specially trained to respond to a weapons-of-mass-destruction incident, according to the 2009 U.S. Army Posture Statement. The teams must be ready to deploy within six hours of notification. The Army National Guard chemical company – in this case the 140th – has the decontamination element of the CERFP mission. All of the units that serve as part of the teams maintain their original missions but receive additional training and equipment that build on their existing skills to accomplish the CERFP mission. California is one of 17 states that have CERFP teams.

CDP training is fully funded for National Guard soldiers and airmen under Title 32. Just like state, local and tribal responders, their travel, lodging and meals are fully funded by DHS. For more information on HT, ERHM and other upcoming CDP training, go to http://cdp.dhs.gov.