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California National Guard Train for Coordinated Interagency Dirty Bomb Drill

About 200 California National Guard, civilian law enforcement and firefighting personnel will be involved in a coordinated interagency response at the Richmond Fire Training Center to the discovery of a "dirty bomb.”

The improvised radiological bomb will be located in Richmond, and the responding airmen, local law enforcement and firefighting personnel will descend upon the city in a drill to find and defuse the bomb as part of an emergency response exercise.

The April 11 exercise is being hosted by the El Cerrito Police Department and will involve more than 100 soldiers and airmen of the California Guard’s 49th Military Police Brigade to conduct decontamination, medical, explosive ordinance disposal and security training throughout the daylong exercise. Joining them will be several civilian public safety agencies, including the El Cerrito and Richmond police and fire departments and the Contra Costa County Office of Emergency Services.

"This is a great opportunity for us all to get together and explore the resources each agency offers," said Lt. Steve Bonini, field operations officer for the El Ceritto Police Department. "The important thing is that we get this training done now so we’ll be prepared to work together should an incident occur."

Based in Fairfield, California, the 49th Military Police Brigade is home to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region IX Homeland Response Force (HRF), which is composed of military police, engineers, medical and chemical corps soldiers and airmen. Trained to rapidly respond to both manmade and natural large-scale emergencies, the HRF is responsible for more than 400,000 acres of territory, home to the nearly 40 million residents of California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and US islands and territories across the Pacific Ocean.

"As citizen-soldiers, our guardsmen offer a broad diversity of skills, both military and civilian," said Col. Peter Cross, commander of the 49th Military Police Brigade. "We train year-round with partner agencies like the El Cerrito Police Department to ensure we’re ready to respond to the communities in which we live and serve."

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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