Pennsylvania National Guard hosts Vigilant Guard exercise

The Pennsylvania National Guard recently hosted an emergency preparedness exercise in conjunction with Army National Guard members.

The exercise, called Vigilant Guard, brought together civilian and military resources to respond to simulated emergencies, Global Biodefense reports.

Members of chemical biological radiological nuclear enhanced response force package (CERFP) teams practiced removing victims from a collapsed building contaminated by a chemical leak. The teams practiced search, rescue and decontamination efforts during the simulation.

"This part of Vigilant Guard tests the response of personnel from all the areas and what they do," Sgt. Timothy Bell, an Elizabeth, Pa., native assigned to the 28th Military Police Company, said, according to Global Biodefense.

Some teams also performed medical duties at the site of the collapsed building.

"Today our unit is pulling security on a hazard site," Sgt. Frank Fornataro, an Ellwood City, Pa., native and combat medic, said, Global Biodefense reports. "Men are going into the zone and coming out and we're monitoring them. I'm a medic and I'm monitoring their vital signs and making sure they're staying hydrated so they can complete their mission."

The objective of the training was to allow soldiers to conduct the most realistic training possible.

"This type of training is to make sure that the first responders and the military units have the proper training, have the proper equipment and can react to anything that hampers the state of Pennsylvania," Bell said, according to Global Biodefense.