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Army, Air Guard units blend expertise, train for emergencies

Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package search and rescue members place a gurney next to a simulated victim to safely move him to the decontamination unit during an exercise March 8, 2014 in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package search and rescue members place a gurney next to a simulated victim to safely move him to the decontamination unit during an exercise March 8, 2014 in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A plastic foot sticks out from underneath a demolished recreational vehicle at the Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package training site March 8, 2014, in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in a emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A plastic foot sticks out from underneath a demolished recreational vehicle at the Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package training site March 8, 2014, in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A sign depicts a large area of rubble, known as the “hot zone”, where Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package members practice an emergency exercise March 8, 2014, in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A sign depicts a large area of rubble, known as the “hot zone”, where Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package members practice an emergency exercise March 8, 2014, in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package search and rescue team member stands in the decontamination tent to be cleaned during an exercise March 8, 2014, in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and NuclearEnhanced Response Force Package search and rescue team member stands in the decontamination tent to be cleaned during an exercise March 8, 2014, in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Colorado Air National Guard 140th Medical Group members assemble a medical tent during Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package exercise March 8, 2014, in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Colorado Air National Guard 140th Medical Group members assemble a medical tent during Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package exercise March 8, 2014, in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A decontamination brush hangs from the decontamination room ceiling during Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package mock exercise March 8, 2014, in Lakewood, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

A brush hangs from the decontamination room ceiling during Colorado National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package mock exercise March 8, 2014, in Erie, Colo. The CERFP team spends one weekend every three months training in an emergency exercise to refine their skills in search and rescue, decontamination and medical procedures. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury/Released)

Erie, Colo.- -- Colorado Army and Air National Guard service members pry through pounds of wreckage, investigating every inch of rubble in a determined search for survivors.

The National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Package Team spend a weekend once every three months combing through a mock incident site.

According to the National Guard website, the CERFP duties include extracting and rescuing casualties trapped in rubble, decontaminating them, and performing medical treatment to stabilize them for transport to a medical facility.

Each drill weekend, a different real-world situation is executed. From tornadoes to chemical attacks, the Soldiers and Airmen of CERFP are trained to respond quickly. During the most recent drill, CERFP members were called in for a simulated explosion at Sports Authority Field, home of the Denver Broncos. Members practiced donning chemical gear, chemical alarm procedures and how to decontaminate and medically treat victims.

"This past weekend was an event to practice our mission skill set and set us up for success when we participate in the National Guard Bureau Vigilant Guard Exercise in Salt Lake City, Utah," said U.S. Army Capt. Timothy Trimbur, 147th Brigade Support Battalion CERFP decontamination commander.

The sum of all their hard work and training has allowed the CERFP to respond effectively to several real emergency situations in the past few years. Recently, the CERFP deployed two search and extraction teams during the Colorado floods to assist in search and rescue.

"While no one ever wishes for an emergency incident, it is very gratifying to be a part of a response that helps," Trimbur said.

Although the mission can get difficult, Trimbur explained the most fulfilling part of his job is the utmost appreciation of the people he helps.

"Just a simple 'Thank you for what you do,' makes everything we do on a day-to-day basis worth it," Trimbur said. "It's why I get up every morning and put on the uniform."
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