On the ground with the WMD-CST in Boston

April 22, 2013 Helen Klein
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With the WMD-CST team at Fort Hamilton Army Base staying put after all, you probably want to know, what exactly does it do?

The team specializes in response to weapons of mass destruction and which interfaces with local emergency responders to assess events and develop a plan of action. For example, the Fort Hamilton team was on the ground on Boston this past week.

So, what exactly, was the WMD-CST doing in Boston?

Major Jody Lupo, the commander of the unit, said that the five members who were there for the Marathon were on the ground to support the Massachusetts WMD-CST.

The teams, he stressed, “don’t do crowd control and security,” but are on high alert, “walking around the area looking for potential threats.” Should one be found, “they alert law enforcement so they can take action,” Lupo went on.

With respect to the Marathon, Lupo said, “The original plan was to arrive Sunday and leave Tuesday.” Their role “changed from standby to response” after the bombing. Not that standby means doing nothing, Lupo added. “While you are standing by pre-event, you are still executing your mission,” he explained.

The 22 team members are highly trained and have varied specialties that they bring to their tasks.  For example, one team member is a modeler, who creates representation of potential hazards so their impact on public safety can be understood. Another team member analyzes substances brought to him so those that are dangerous can be identified. Another specializes in communications, helping different first responders from multiple agencies with diverse radio networks get into communication with each other.

“Everybody has some unbelievable skill and they are all dedicated professionals,” Lupo said.

The team is kept plenty busy, Lupo noted. Since being activated in 2010, “We have become one of the busiest and most active CSTs in the country.”

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