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Armenian delegation involved in hazardous materials exercise

Emporia firefighters are conducting a joint exercise on biohazards response this week.

The exercise includes a regional group involving the Emporia Fire Department and some Wichita firefighters as well as the Kansas National Guard's 73rd Civil Support Team, which specializes in responses to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear emergencies.

Emporia Fire Capt. Bill West says hazardous material responses are more common than you may think, but the focus this week is on the more uncommon situations.

Major Rob Cole is commander of the 73rd CST. He says it's good to participate in these kinds of scenarios together.

A delegation from Armenia is also present, to observe and learn from Kansas officials through the The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at K-State. Each state in the National Guard is partnered with a foreign country's military. Kansas is partnered with Armenia. Col. Valery Baghiyan is the head of the emergency rescue division of the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations. He says his background in biology and microbiology is very helpful in determining how different hazardous materials can react.

The exercise began Monday at the Lyon County Fairgrounds and continues through Wednesday. The Armenian delegation will next travel to Salina to visit Crisis City.

 

KVOE News Anchor AJ Dome contributed to this report.

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