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This week, 25 military members of the Czech Republic are at the Texas Engineering Extension Services (TEEX) Disaster City? participating in a full-scale exercise that simulates separate responses to a terrorist attack a natural disaster.

The Czech team is jointly responding to the mock disasters with the Austin-based 6th Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team, which is a unit of the Texas Military Forces with specialization in response to chemical, biological or radiological incidents. TEEX’s Urban Search & Rescue division is not only facilitating this effort, but it’s also working alongside the joint team throughout the exercise.

On Wednesday, the combined Czech/WMD-CST team will respond to a tornado-ravaged downtown Disaster City? and will coordinate its actions with those acting as city officials, since all incidents begin and end with the local communities in this case, with College Stations Mayor Ben White, City Manager Glenn Brown and Fire Chief R.B. Alley. In addition, College Station’s hazardous materials team will also be part of the staged emergency response. The Wednesday disaster scenario is expected to include collapsed structures, such as a hospital, rubble piles and evidence of radiation.

Elements of Texas Task Force 1 have trained with nearly a dozen of the nation’s 55 WMD Civil Support Teams. These unique interactions, such as those experienced this week, have led to increased communications within the local, state and federal response system.

About Disaster City?

Disaster City is a 52-acre acre training facility that delivers a full array of skills and techniques needed by urban search and rescue professionals, featuring full-scale collapsible structures that replicate community infrastructure. The site includes a strip mall, office building, industrial complex, assembly hall/theater, single-family dwelling, train derailments and three active rubble piles. It also features a small lake.

About the Texas Engineering Extension Service

The Texas Engineering Extension Service, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized first responder training, homeland security exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond. TEEX programs include fire services, homeland security, law enforcement, public works, safety and health, search and rescue, and economic solutions.

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Kathy Fraser

Director of Marketing and Communications

I can’t think of a better way to have spent my time. It was eye-opening and extremely thought-provoking. We, unfortunately, had an opportunity almost immediately to implement some of the advice you and your team gave us when a small plane crashed in the woods south of our airport on Wednesday morning. Sadly, both individuals in the plane were killed. Your advice on communications was extremely valuable to us during and after that incident.

— Kristen Umstattd, Mayor, Town of Leesburg, Pennsylvania
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