North Chicago city simulates chemical attack

The Rapid Deployment Response Team of the Zion, Illinois Police Department was faced with a simulated chemical attack last Friday within the city’s Central Middle School.

The drill, part of a yearly Illinois Terrorism Task Force mandated exercise, required local first responders and military companies to coordinate their response to the attack.

"In a crisis, military and city agencies form a cohesive emergency team that will protect the citizens of Zion," Police Chief Wayne Brooks told SuburbanChicagoNews.com

Injured students in the simulation – played by members of the Great Lakes Naval Corps School – wore makeup to simulated the effects of a chemical attack, including skin falling off and open sores oozing blood.

A chemical wash down to decontaminate the wounded was set up that included medical personnel in full chemical suits.

"From my perspective this is just first rate, phenomenal," Zion Mayor Lane Harrison told SuburbanChicagoNews.com. "I’m just really impressed to know we are officially prepared."

This is the second time such a training project has been held in North Chicago, with the previous event simulated at the college of Lake County.

Participants in the simulation included the 472nd Chemical Battalion, the 379th Chemical Company, a platoon from the 342nd Chemical Company’s Biological Integrated Detection System and the 1171st Area Support Medical Company as well as camouflaged army reservists.

The responders utilized several $1.5 million vehicles equipped to detect the air for toxins within a five-mile radius.

"We are set up to detect any biological attack," Capt. Peter Holloway said.

Exercises were held in seven locations around the city besides the school.

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