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FSS gets equipment, trains for search and extraction response

Members of the 11-man fatality search and recovery team learn to assemble the quick-erect shelter system. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

Members of the 11-man fatality search and recovery team learn to assemble the quick-erect shelter system. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

Staff Sgt. Tiffany Desmarais straps down the tent while Tech. Sgt. Manuel Silva provides moral and stabilization support. The quick-erect shelter systems require six services specialists and 45 minutes to fully assemble.  (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

Staff Sgt. Tiffany Desmarais straps down the tent while Tech. Sgt. Manuel Silva provides moral and stabilization support. The quick-erect shelter systems require six services specialists and 45 minutes to fully assemble. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Angela Walz)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Members of an 11-man Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT) from the 162nd Force Support Squadron received training here Jan. 7 on the newest equipment to comprise their element of a national Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).

The new equipment consists of four quick-erect shelter systems to be used for working, resting, or sleeping if the team is needed to stay on site.

The National Guard's CERFP mission is to provide immediate response capability to the governor, including incident site search capability of damaged buildings, rescuing trapped casualties, providing decontamination, and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize patients for transport to medical facilities.

"This was in the works before Hurricane Katrina hit, but the number of fatalities in that disaster really spawned the funding to get these things up and running," said Senior Master Sgt. Mike Soich, Sustainment Flight Superintendent here.

FSRTs are deployed in the event of local, state, or federal disasters and are comprised of the four elements staffed by personnel from already established National Guard units. The force support squadron here is assigned to a western Federal Emergency Management Agency region and is part of CERFP.

"Each member of the team receives an additional 200 to 300 hours of training in addition to their AFSC [Air Force Specialty Code] career training," said Capt. Paul Jefferson, 162nd Force Support Squadron commander.

The FSS has already received additional equipment as part of the CERFP, including three all-terrain vehicles, 210 pressurized CBRNE hazmat suits and three extraction trailers. They're anticipating the arrival of an additional three pick-up trucks and one flat-bed truck, said Jefferson.

Today's training was also filmed by the local Public Affairs office by request of the National Guard Bureau.

"We're the first to get fully trained so NGB wants to have video footage to help train other units," said Soich.