A chemical defense exercise will be held Wednesday, May 8, starting at 9 a.m. EDT in the Pentagon's Center Courtyard. Arlington County's emergency response units and members of the Defense Protective Service will conduct the exercise, which is being funded by the Department of Justice Domestic Preparedness Program. Personnel from the Pentagon's Real Estate and Facilities directorate will arrange logistics for the four-hour drill.
The exercise, which was planned prior to Sept. 11, will test Arlington's response to a chemical weapons attack in a public setting. It also will examine the county's ability to establish and maintain multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction and public communications in response to such an attack. The exercise does not indicate an increased threat to Arlington or the Pentagon.
The exercise will consist of a number of activities usually associated with the initial response to an act of chemical terrorism, including: victim rescue, triage, treatment and decontamination, agent identification, site security and crowd control, monitoring for contamination, contamination control, device or debris recovery and packaging.
Approximately 300 people will take part in the exercise. Some will act as victims and others will provide medical treatment and perform related activities. In addition to Arlington police and fire units, fire departments from Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Fort Myer will be involved. Other participating agencies include the Metropolitan Medical Response Team, American Red Cross, FBI, Virginia State Police, Defense Press Operations, Defense Information School, Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington, INOVA-Hospital Alexandria, INOVA Hospital-Fairfax, Northern Virginia Community Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Pentagon's DiLorenzo Health Clinic.
Media seeking to cover this event must be at the Pentagon's River Entrance no later than 8 a.m. EDT. The media point of contact at the Pentagon is Glenn Flood, (703) 695-6294. Arlington County's point of contact is Pam Locke, (703) 228-3952.