Virginia CERFP conducts emergency response qualification course

Soldiers and Airmen learn to use emergency response equipment April 11, 2014, during the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package University, or CERFPU, at Fort Pickett. The Virginia CERFP spent a week from April 7-11 at Fort Pickett training Soldiers and Airmen on the skills and tactics to be certified members of the emergency response team. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Soldiers and Airmen learn to use emergency response equipment April 11, 2014, during the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package University, or CERFPU, at Fort Pickett. The Virginia CERFP spent a week from April 7-11 at Fort Pickett training Soldiers and Airmen on the skills and tactics to be certified members of the emergency response team. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va – Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, or CERFP (pronounced “surf-p”) conducted a new member training event April 7-12, 2014, at Fort Pickett to instruct their newest Soldiers and Airmen on the basics of consequence management and incident response.

The training, known as CERFP University, qualifies service members on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s robust Hazardous Materials Operations program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Command System, as well as educates them on detection equipment and the correct wear of personal protective equipment.

“This is a great opportunity to train our Soldiers and Airmen for one of the most relevant missions that we have in the Virginia Guard,” stated Lt. Col. Garland H. Goodrich, CERFP commander. “One week at CERFPU and they get hands-on experience with most of our equipment and are trained and qualified on HAZMAT operations so that they can serve with the Virginia CERFP to assist local, state, and federal agencies responding to natural or manmade disasters.”

Sgt. Ammie L. Witt, instructor for the Virginia CERFP, led non-ambulatory decontamination lane training April 12, 2014 at Fort Pickett.  (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Sgt. Ammie L. Witt, instructor for the Virginia CERFP, led non-ambulatory decontamination lane training April 12, 2014 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The six-day course capitalizes on the variety of training venues at Fort Pickett by mixing classroom instruction and practical exercises within walking distance of each other. The majority of training is the hazardous materials operations qualification course, where students learn about defending and mitigating risks associated with hazardous materials in an emergency response environment.

CERFP University culminates its week-long training with a hands-on practical exercise during which students don their protective suits and equipment, including a powered air purifying respirator, and execute several tasks associated with the CERFP mission along a technical decontamination lane.

Students graduated from CERFP University following a comprehensive exam April 12.

The CERFP conducts tasks associated with incident management, urban search and rescue, mass casualty decontamination, medical triage, and fatality recovery. The package is comprised of both Soldiers and Airmen from units based in Petersburg, West Point, Rocky Mount, and Joint-Base Langley-Eustis, as well as Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Virginia’s CERFP was authorized in June 2006 and validated for the third time in May 2013. The CERFP is made up of 186 Virginia and 11 District of Columbia Guardsmen. The units making up Virginia’s CERFP include:* the Command and Control Element from the Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion.

* the Mass Casualty Decontamination Element from the Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company.

* the Search and Extraction Element from West Point-based 237th Engineer Company.

* the Medical Element from 192nd Medical Group, Virginia Air National Guard stationed at Langley Air Force Base.

* the Fatality Search and Recovery Team from the 113th Flight Services Squadron from the D.C. National Guard stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Md .

Photos: Virginia CERFP conducts emergency response
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