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By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the event of a chemical attack, the Maryland National Guard says they’re always ready and always there, so they work with local authorities to make sure they’re also prepared.

The Maryland National Guard’s 231st chemical company conducted a joint training with first responders in Carroll County on Saturday.

“Nobody wants to think about the effects of something such as a radiological or biological event, but the reality is it’s something we have to be prepared for,” says Maryland National Guard Battle Captain Lt. Henry Geer.

The scenario, which included first responders from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department and Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department, was intended to simulate an explosion in a shopping mall.

Using the former North Carroll High School along with actors to play the victims, the training focused on rescuing survivors, practicing decontamination capabilities and learning the best practices in an unfamiliar environment.

“When you get the opportunity to train not only with your own agency but additional agencies as well, it just makes it easier to understand what the capabilities and requirements of the responses are,” says Incident Commander Jim Covington.

The drill also strengthened the guard’s response efforts with local authorities to help them work together in emergency situations.

“This is our backyard, so being able to be here to interact with the local police department, fire department and really just show that this is something we are part of, it’s our community as well,” Geer said.

A large-scale exercise such as Saturday’s training is typically done on a quarterly basis and takes months to coordinate.

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