VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard’s Richmond-based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, or CERFP (pronounced “surf-p”) conducted an initial entry training event Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, 2020, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia to instruct their newest Soldiers and Airmen on the basics of incident management and emergency response.
The training, known as CERFP University, qualifies service members on the International Fire service Accreditation Congress’ robust Hazardous Materials Operations program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Incident Command System, as well as educates them on detection equipment and the correct wear of personal protective equipment.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to safely train our troops for an incredibly important mission,” stated Maj. Louis E. Burke, CERFP commander. “During the five days at training they get hands-on experience with equipment, become licensed to operate our response vehicles, and become hazardous materials certified.”
The five-day course capitalizes on the variety of training venues at SMR by mixing classroom instruction and practical exercises within walking distance of each other. The majority of training is the hazardous materials operations qualification course, where students learn about defending and mitigating risks associated with hazardous materials in an emergency response environment.
CERFP University culminates its week-long training with a hands-on practical exercise during which students don their protective suits and equipment, including a powered air purifying respirator, and execute several tasks associated with the CERFP mission along a technical decontamination lane.
Students graduated from CERFP University following a comprehensive exam December 3.
The CERFP conducts tasks associated with incident management, urban search and rescue, mass casualty decontamination, medical triage, and fatality recovery. The package is comprised of both Soldiers and Airmen from units based in Richmond, West Point, Rocky Mount, and Joint-Base Langley-Eustis, as well as Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
Virginia’s 34th CERFP was authorized in June 2006 and validated for the fifth time in April 2017. The 34th CERFP is made up of 197 Virginia and 11 District of Columbia Guardsmen. The units making up Virginia’s CERFP include:
- The Command and Control Element from the Richmond-based Joint Force Headquarters – Virginia.
- The Mass Casualty Decontamination Element from the Rocky Mount-based 229th Chemical Company.
- The Search and Extraction Element from West Point-based 237th Engineer Company.
- The Medical Element from 192nd Medical Group, Virginia Air National Guard stationed at Langley Air Force Base.
- The Communications Element from the 192nd Intelligence Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard stationed at Langley Air Force Base.
- The Fatality Search and Recovery Team from the 113th Flight Services Squadron from the D.C. National Guard stationed at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
For more photos visit the Virginia National Guard Flickr Page- New 34th CERFP Soldiers, Airmen attend CERFP University