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‘Dirty bomb’ Drill to Begin in California

(Mike Aldax)  A “dirty bomb” will be located in Richmond on Saturday, April 11, and more than 200 soldiers, airmen, local law enforcement and firefighting personnel will descend upon the city in order to defuse the situation — as part of an emergency response exercise, thankfully.

The daylong exercise, hosted by the El Cerrito Police Department, will take place at the facility shared by Richmond and El Cerrito fire departments at 3506 Cutting Blvd., the California National Guard announced Friday.

More than 100 soldiers and airmen belonging to the California National Guard’s 49thMilitary Police Brigade, based in Fairfield, will conduct decontamination, medical, explosive ordinance disposal and security training. The El Cerrito and Richmond police and fire departments and the Contra Costa County Office of Emergency Services will take part.

“This is a great opportunity for us all to get together and explore the resources each agency offers,” El Cerrito police Lt. Steve Bonini said in a statement. “The important thing is that we get this training done now so we’ll be prepared to work together should an incident occur.”

The 49th Military Police Brigade is home to FEMA’s Region IX Homeland Response Force (HRF), which is composed of military police, engineers, medical and chemical corps soldiers and airmen. It responds to both manmade and natural emergencies in a territory of more than 400,000 acres, encompassing California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and U.S. islands and territories across the Pacific Ocean.