A new Iowa National Guard unit will be tested today during an exercise on Iowa State University’s campus. Colonel Robert King, a spokesman for the Iowa National Guard, says the unit will coordinate with local officials to respond to a fake terrorist attack. The 22-member 71st Civil Support Team was certified in January to respond to a “weapons of mass destruction” incident in Iowa or surrounding states. He says they’ve been aggressively working exercises with different organizations to be prepared if there is an incident. There are presently 32 such Guard units in the country. He says the team is specifically trained to provide help with local authorities in dealing with the attack and recommending responses.King says the unit was tested two weeks ago during a simulated disaster at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Today, the Civil Support Team will work with Ames police and fire departments, the local hospital, Iowa State University officials and Story County Emergency Management. King says such training exercises force the unit to act and use equipment rather than just talk about what they’d do in an emergency.
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