VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — More than 180 Virginia Army and Air Guard personnel from a special response force of the Virginia National Guard will conduct an external evaluation exercise April 27, 2013, hosted by the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center in Virginia Beach. The exercise will validate response capabilities and improve operations for the response force.
FOR THE NEWS MEDIA: Members of the news media are invited to attend training and preparations for the evaluation on Friday, April 26, 2013, at 11 a.m. Reporters and photographers should check in at the Virginia National Guard readiness center at 1096 South Birdneck Road in Virginia Beach no later than 10:45 for an information briefing and transport to the training location. Please DO NOT go directly to the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center. Please RSVP to Cotton Puryear by 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2013, if you plan to attend. To get an idea about the potential visuals, visit the Flickr link copied below.
The Virginia National Guard’s special response force is the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Response Force Package, known as the CERFP (pronounced “surf-p”). The CERFP can conduct tasks associated with incident management, urban search and rescue, mass causality decontamination, technical decontamination, medical triage and treatment and fatality search and recovery. The force is made up of Soldiers and Airmen from units based in Petersburg, West Point, Rocky Mount, Danville, Virginia Beach and Langley Air Force Base as well as personnel from the Washington D. C. Air National Guard.
Virginia’s CERFP was authorized in June 2006. The unit’s mission is to provide immediate response capability to the Governor for searching an incident site that might include damaged and collapsed buildings, rescuing any casualties, decontaminating them and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize them for transport to a medical facility.
The CERFP is unique in that it is a task force that includes elements from several different units rather than one specific unit. This task force leverages the strengths and capabilities of these different elements to accomplish the CERFP Weapons of Mass Destruction mission. The units making up Virginia’s CERFP include:
• The command and control and incident management team from the Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion (approximately 10 personnel).
• The mass casualty decontamination element from the Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company (approximately 75 personnel).
• The search and extraction element from West Point-based 237th Engineer Company (approximately 50 personnel).
• The mass casualty medical triage and treatment element from the 192d Medical Group, Virginia Air National Guard stationed at Langley Air Force Base (approximately 45 personnel).
• The fatality search and remains recovery element from the 113th Service Squadron from the DC National Guard. (approximately 10 personnel – not participating in this exercise)
If an incident occurs requiring CERFP support, Soldiers and Airmen are alerted through the Virginia Guard Joint Operations Center and mobilized on state active duty. If the incident is located within Virginia they would proceed to the incident site and fall under the control of the incident commander. If the incident is located outside of Virginia, the Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia would coordinate with the receiving state under the terms agreed to in the Emergency Mutual Aid Compact.
There are currently 17 CERFP teams available nationwide with three FEMA Region 3 in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.
Virginia National Guard CERFP successfully conducts continuous disaster response exercise – July 28, 2012
Virginia Guard response force conducts external evaluation – June 30, 2010
Photos: Special Virginia Guard emergency response force conducts external evaluation exercise – June 16 & 18, 2010