Kansas CST trained to handle chemical and biological threats

The Kansas-based 73rd Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction, visited Fort Leavenworth from March 27-29 to conduct a training exercise related to chemical and biological threats.

The Kansas CST is a joint effort by the Kansas Air National Guard and Army that employs 22 full-time experts to respond to biological and chemical threats throughout the state. There are 57 teams trained to handle such threats nationwide. The CST works to support local first responders and law enforcement, Comtex reports.

"Everything we do is locked in step with our civilian partners," Sgt. George McMahon, a noncommissioned officer on the team, said, according to Comtex. "We act in support of them."

During its training at Fort Leavenworth, the team practiced several scenarios, including a simulated chemical or biological dump at a public pool and a vehicle spraying an unknown chemical along a street.

"Every exercise has been a different scenario," Lt. Col. Dirk Christian, the commander of the unit, said, according to Comtex. "We really train the whole set of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear threats."

The Fort Leavenworth Fire Department also gave support to the March exercise, as approximately 20 firefighters in the area are also trained to handle hazardous materials.

"It gives us a chance to know what our capabilities are so we can know when to contact them," Christian said, according to Comtex. "It's also just good to network before there's an emergency situation."