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Both Army units in Louisiana have been accredited using scenario-based external evaluations. The members will now be “on mission” – for civilians, that means instantly deployable for two years after accreditation. During that time, their primary mission will be in the rescue, command and hazmat functions in a radioactive environment.
The Louisiana teams have sought out local emergency responders (especially established USAR task forces) for two reasons. First, they know they will be working with these teams someday and don’t want to be shaking hands for the first time on a rubble pile. The members of these military teams are almost all combat veterans who know the value of experience, and they look to rescue teams that have deployed to help round out their education.
In Louisiana, we are working hard to develop a strong state SAR response force. We have established state USAR teams and Regional Response Teams to this purpose and look at the military teams as a welcome addition to our meager resources. These forces will bring skill and ability as well as a huge amount of technical assets to any disaster in our area. The military has worked hard to train their people in the Incident Command System (ICS), but education will not match what both military and civilian teams will pick up when they work out together. We all look forward to furthering our relationships with future training. n