Pueblo, Colorado, holds annual safety drills

Firefighters practice extracting someone from a vehicle after a mock crash during the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program Exercise in May 2015. | Courtesy of PEO ACWA
Representatives from federal, state and local emergency services, medical response and school students took part in safety exercise drills in the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) in Pueblo, Colorado, this past May.

According to the Program Executive Office of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA), approximately 600 people take part in the exercises on an annual basis. The exercises give response teams and officials a glimpse at what a live situation would be like and allow them to refine skills in response and recovery.

“Many volunteers found the experience not only rewarding, but also informative,” CSEPP Public Information Officer Laurie Kilpatrick said. “One volunteer described the exercise as ‘interesting and educational’ and another stated that the event was ‘a huge learning experience.'”

The first scenario had simulated a chemical incident at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. The second was an exercise that simulated an unrelated event that allowed Emergency Operation Centers to activate and take part in their responsibilities alongside the Community Joint Information Center and other treatment and decontamination facilities.

The Army depot currently houses 2,611 tons of mustard agent, and there is an exercise aimed to prepare multiple aspects of the response and recovery cycle, to minimize the damage that could be caused if an accident or attack took place at the depot facility.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot 104 W B St Pueblo, CO 81003

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