Brookings Co. holds joint training exercises with National Guard

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 6:02 PM CDT
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BROOKINGS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - First responders in Brookings County held a joint training exercise today with members of the South Dakota National Guard’s 82nd Civil Support Team. The purpose of today’s training was to establish and refine relationships between local, state, and federal agencies when it comes to dealing with situations with hazardous materials.

“Communication is the key to everything,” said Bob Hill, Brookings County Emergency Manager.

That is one of the driving forces behind the joint training being done out here in Brookings. Communicate and learn to deal with situations everywhere you can.

“An act of terrorism can occur anywhere at any time, it can occur in a small arena like the Swiftel, it can occur in a larger arena like Sanford Arena in Sioux Falls,” said David Sheets, Commander of the 82nd Civil Support Team.

Tuesday’s training was a simulation of what each group would do if a hazardous weapon was put into a public area. With local first responders setting up and getting necessary information, and then the National Guard Civil Support Team sending in members to search for any and all radioactive materials.

“An exercise like this allows us to take those written plans and actually put them in action to see if they are going to work or not,” said Hill.

One of the most important aspects of the training is members of the different agencies getting the chance to work together with people they haven’t met, who they will depend on in emergency situations.

“The biggest thing we can get out of this is we can put names with faces, we can understand how each other operates we can build confidence within each other’s capabilities so that the first time we show up at a real-world incident we are not meeting each other for the first time,” said Sheets.

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