Kentucky National Guard unit prepares for hazardous scenarios in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky National Guard unit prepares for hazardous scenarios involving weapons of mass destruction

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OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Oldham County Fair Grounds was transformed into a hazardous scene Thursday, preparing the Kentucky National Guard for many dangerous scenarios.

"The scenario for today's mission is there were boy scout campers here at the fair grounds, and they appeared to have been exposed to some type of agent," said Major Kris Morlen, Commander of the 41st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team.

This Kentucky National Guard unit is an all-hazard hazmat team.

Every 18 months, members from the U.S. Army travel to Kentucky to evaluate the group's ability to get rid of weapons of mass destruction.

"Our philosophy really is that it's not a matter of if it will happen," Morlen said. "It's a matter of when it'll happen."

In Thursday's exercise, the campers came across a suspicious chemical that sickened everyone. The unit's mission is to find out what the chemical is and how to get rid of it.

And in their suits, that's no easy task.

"They have about an hour and a half that they'll have to spend in those suits, completely encapsulated with temperatures approaching the 90s. So when they come out, they'll look like they just came out of a rainstorm," Morlen said.

This is just one of many scenarios the team prepares for.

"With everything going on in the world, you never know what's going to happen. So having us here is safety for the public," said Aaron Brady, a member of the 41st Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team.

Congress established the program in 2000 as a response to terrorist hazards.

"This program was started as a result of the presidential concern that an event like this could happen on the homeland in the U.S., so we needed the ability to be able to respond to that," Morlen said.

The unit is based in Kentucky, but has the ability to respond to hazards and incidents nation wide.

"We're all Kentuckians and Hoosiers, so we really have a vested interest in being able to respond to the needs of our commonwealth, the needs of our community, our friends, our neighbors," Morlen said.

After Thursday's exercises, the Kentucky national guard will review the results and pinpoints areas that need improvement.

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