With the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the National Guard team that deals with weapons of mass destruction attacks needed somewhere with winter weather to train and Mammoth fit the bill.
A National Guard Civil Support Team will be in town through Friday to train with the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, the Mammoth Police Department, and the Mono Sheriffs Department. The Civil Support Teams were created by the Department of Defense to travel around the country training local officials in WMD response. The first teams were created in August of 2001, before the 9-11 attacks, but have continued since. Every state has at least one of these teams. California has two.
If there were an WMD attack, the Governor could call in the National Guard to help out local emergency crews. The Civil Support Team brings a state-of-the-art communications system to provide the Incident Commander with expertise and capability in WMD response.
With Intrawest similarities and winter weather, Mammoth is acting as a stand in for Whistler where Olympic events will take place. Fire Chief Brent Harper reports that the team was looking for a place that was, as close a possible to Vancouver.
Local emergency crews are training with the National Guard to respond to a suspected or known Weapons of Mass Destruction incident, whether it is chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or a high yield explosive. In the Mammoth training Wednesday, teams with Hazmat suits and Geiger counters searched for a simulated radiological weapon.
The training is based at Fire Station 2 on Old Mammoth Road, but you may see these soldiers around town in the coming days going through their exercises.