Governor Cuomo Announces Train Derailment Preparedness Training

400 National Guard Soldiers Train to Respond to Chemical, Biological, Nuclear Incidents Resulting from Train Derailments. Homeland Response Force Mission to Make Sure New York is Ready

Print Email

Albany, NY - August 9, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than 400 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will conduct emergency preparedness activities dealing with response to a train derailment and chemical spill. The training takes place August 8-11 at the Westchester County Fire Training Center and Camp Smith.

“Training our soldiers and first responders before a disaster strikes is a top priority when it comes to keeping New Yorkers safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “Recent years have shown us the need to prepare for the unthinkable or unlikely, and exercises like this are an important step toward building a world-class emergency response network that is ready for any crisis.”

The Homeland Response Force (HRF) for FEMA Region II is one of ten units established by the Department of Defense to assist or relieve state officials and local first responders in dealing with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attacks and incidents across the United States.

The scenario for this training exercise is a train derailment that results in chemical spills that threaten communities near the site of the accident. The Soldiers and Airmen will be training on how to search for and extract victims from disaster sites while wearing hazardous materials suits, decontaminate the victims if needed, and conduct basic medical triage to assist first responders and health officials.

The HRF is designed to foster increased dialogue between regional first responders and other state and federal response agencies. The HRF plays an important role at the regional level in helping develop and build regional plans and in working with emergency managers to design a cohesive government response to CBRN incidents at the regional level.

The New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen will be joined by an additional 200 Soldiers and Airmen from the New Jersey National Guard as they conduct the annual training evaluation.

FEMA Region II includes Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands as well as New York and New Jersey.

The major units that comprise the HRF include:

  • The 42nd Infantry Division Headquarters, based in Troy, N.Y. provides overall command and control of the organization.
  • The 104th Military Police Battalion Headquarters, based in Kingston, N.Y., provides command of the CBRN response elements at the incident site.
  • The 1156th Engineer Company, located in Kingston, N.Y. provides engineers trained for the extraction and evacuation of casualties.
  • The 222nd Chemical Company, based at Fort Hamilton, N.Y., operates the decontamination element.
  • The New York Guard volunteers of the 88th Brigade, based primarily in New York City, augment the decontamination line.
  • Wings of the New York Air National Guard all contribute medical personnel for the triage and transfer of casualties for civilian medical treatment.
  • Security personnel from the New Jersey National Guard include members of the 328th Military Police Company from Cherry Hill, N.J., 253rd Transportation Company from Cape May Court House, N.J., and Security Forces of the 108th Air Refueling Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. and the 177th Fighter Wing from Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

The FEMA Region II HRF Facebook page can be found here:

Members of the media interested in covering this event must contact Colonel Richard Goldenberg at 518-727-7314.