Newest emergency response capability comes to Louisiana

Enhanced response force package one of 17 nationwide

Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – Louisiana has a new National Guard resource for immediate emergency mass casualty response that will significantly increase disaster reaction for local, state and federal agencies.

The Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive (CBRNE) – Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) is a Department of Defense directive aimed at building up homeland defense with National Guard resources.

Although CBRNE is the general field in which they operate, CERFP can also assist local, state and federal agencies in natural disaster responses. This new initiative will be able to provide immediate support in mass casualty events to increase the ability of agencies to respond to a disaster with search and extraction, decontamination and medical triage and initial treatment teams.

“This new and enhanced National Guard capability is unique within our region,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. “During times of emergency, our neighbors and fellow states have always stood ready to assist us, and now Louisiana will be standing ready to assist them should the need arise.”

Louisiana received the Federal Emergency Management Agencys region VI mission in 2010.

“This mission greatly increases our emergency response capabilities by providing Louisiana and the region with a very unique unit that has highly trained Guardsmen, and state of the art equipment,” said Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, the LANGs adjutant general.

“The placement of this unit in Louisiana greatly enhances our states capabilities to respond to any domestic threat within our state and the region, and allows us to provide further enhanced capabilities in support of our first responders, state and federal agencies during any disaster,” said Landreneau.

The LANG is undergoing a series of individual and collective training requirements that will culminate with an external evaluation in April 2012. Once certified for full operational capacity, more than 250 Guardsmen will be ready to deploy within six hours of an incident when called upon by the adjutant general.

“After the successful external evaluation, CERFP will receive validation in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Capt. Jake Witte, special projects officer for the 61st Troop Command.

Units designated as CERFP include the decontamination unit from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment located in Breaux Bridge; search and extraction unit from A Company, 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion located in New Roads; and the medical care unit in the new Joint Readiness Training center located in Baton Rouge, comprised of Air Guard personnel.

“CERFP is a response capability that will fall under the direction of the adjutant general and will be available to support local, state and federal agencies response efforts in the event of a mass casualty disaster,” said Witte, also serving as the commander of the decontamination unit. “Although we generally operate in a CBRNE environment, we are available during natural disasters or other events deemed necessary by the adjutant general.”

Over the last month more than 110 Guardsmen have completed the basic casualty search and extraction course at Camp Gruber, Okla., and more than 100 personnel have completed decontamination training in Breaux Bridge.

Louisianas CERFP is one of 17 nationwide and can be used to provide confined space and collapsed structure rescue, mass casualty decontamination and mass casualty medical care in CBRNE incidents including natural disasters where mass casualties are present in a toxic environment. CERFP can support with all or part of their capabilities to enhance response from local, state and federal agencies.

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