Thursday, November 29, 2018

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Terrorist drill at Kingston Alms House draws local firefighters

KINGSTON – City of Kingston Fire Department Hazmat Team joined with experts from the New York Army National Guard in Kingston Wednesday to conduct a joint emergency training drill at the old Alms House at 300 Flatbush Avenue.

A dozen local firefighters took part in the drill, along with 16 of the 22 full-time specialists from the National Guard team.


The response team brought lots of equipment ...

... including this robot tractor

The vacant building is currently owned by RUPCO, which purchased the former health department offices from Ulster County.

City police and firefighters were called to the scene to investigate a mock dead body inside a car parked outside the Alms House. The training scenario led investigators to determine that the deceased lived up on the third floor of the Alms House.

Inside the apartment, a clandestine laboratory was discovered. The exercise helps local responders to utilize skills to assess complex and dangerous situations –quickly initiating the proper response. What was being made in the lab? Was it drugs? Explosives?

Turns out, it was deadly cyanide gas, being loaded into empty fire extinguishers. “Nobody pays attention to fire extinguishers,” explained Michael Redecker, owner of Disaster Demons EMG, Ltd, a private contractor from Ohio who helped develop the scenario.

Redecker added that several items placed inside the apartment were decoys to distract authorities from discovering the terrorist lair. The drill took all day, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Participants had no inkling of which scenario they were walking into.

“We knew the training location; we knew nothing about the scenario before we got on site,” acknowledged LTC Aron Sachetti, commander of the 2nd Civil Support Team, New York Army National Guard, which handles potential weapons of mass destruction, and hazardous chemicals.

“We try and do at least one of these drills a month, so that our folks maintain their proficiency on all of our tasks,” Sachetti said. “We also try and do as many of these with external agencies that we would be called to support in a real-world event.”

Sachetti said they have not trained with Kingston Fire Department in a long time.


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