Michigan Disaster Training for Dirty Bomb with National Guard Troops
Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Michigan disaster training “Operation Northern Exposure” set for June 23-27, will be the first time the Michigan National Guard has worked with local first responders. It is a disaster training to simulate the effects of a dirty bomb, and may involve as many as 1000 National Guard troops.
The Michigan Guard’s 51st Weapons of Mass destruction unit is trained in dirty bomb responses, but it is unclear if they will be participating.
“It is probably one of the largest undertaking[s] we’ve had as far as an exercise for the Michigan Army National Guard in a long time…It’s an all hazards approach. Once we prepare at this level, we’ll be ready for everything, hopefully everything less than the scenario would dictate.” Colonel Raymond Stemitz of the National Guard.
The exercise will mostly take place at the landfill in Grand Rapids (on Butterworth Avenue). Crestwood Middle School will be used as a “decontamination center,” since school will be out by the time of the exercise.
Members of the city’s Public Works Department and other local responders are set to participate in the practice.
Many cities across the country conduct practice exercises for disasters that may occur. Usually agencies like local Fire Departments and Police are involved. What sets this one apart is the size, and the interaction with the Michigan National Guard.
What would Public Works people do?
“Clearing cars and debris away from the path of the first responders who come to save lives.” Colonel Stemitz.
WoodTV News wrote,
The public may notice more military vehicles in the area, as well as helicopters bringing crews to and from the sites, but the general public won’t be impacted. Local officials said traffic in the area won’t be affected.
“It’s all off the beaten path. There are no public highways involved other than transportation to the site and away from the site,” said Kent County Emergency Management Director, Lieutenant Jack Stewart.
When asked why the scenario of a dirty bomb was at play, Colonel Stemitz responded that a “massive catastrophe, that complex catastrophe drives a local, federal and state response.” So he wanted the exercise to be “over the top” on purpose.
It may show the weaknesses in disaster response, but it also may fuel conspiracy theories. Oh wait, too late, it already has, since it comes days before the start of Jade Helm. Scheduling scheduling scheduling. Interesting.