Emergency responsePrivate, public partners in Illinois CBRN emergency drill

Published 5 June 2012

First responders and authorities in Lake and Cook counties, Illinois, joined Army Reserve units to conduct Exercise Red Dragon 2012, a chemical, nuclear response exercise

More than 200 people representing businesses in Lake and Cook counties, Illinois along with public partners representing federal, state, and local jurisdictions, participated in a full-scale disaster exercise at Grainger in Lake Forest on Saturday, 2 June. Complementing the exercise, experts from public and private organizations led discussions on topics regarding community resiliency and catastrophic response.

“Today’s event focuses on strengthening the relationships between public and private organizations through hands-on training as well as exploring ideas to help us work better together,” said Kent McKenzie, Lake County Emergency Management Agency coordinator. “The time to strengthen our partnerships is now, not after the crisis hits.”

Exercise Red Dragon 2012 tested the response of Army Reserve chemical units to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) incidents and fostered communications with Lake and Cook county first responders, medical personnel, as well as local community and business leaders. Red Dragon is an annual exercise for the 335th Signal Command (Theater). About 2,500 soldiers are expected to participate in three states including Wisconsin, Illinois, and Georgia this year.

“Red Dragon trains, tests and evaluates Army Reserve Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) units and represents a major opportunity for soldiers to perform their mission in an environment as realistic as possible, working alongside their civilian counterparts,” said Brig. Gen. L. Wayne Brock III, Deputy Commander, 335th Signal Command (Theater) and exercise director for Red Dragon 2012. “This exercise will improve their role in providing seamless support to federal, state and local authorities during an emergency response to a large-scale attack or disaster.”

2012 is the third year that the Lake-Cook Regional Critical Incident Partnership — a consortium of local businesses and emergency response agencies in Lake and Cook counties — has partnered with the U.S. Army Reserve and Grainger to host a disaster preparedness summit. In 2010 the team launched the region’s first full-scale exercise and in 2011 hosted a forum keynoted by Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré (RET).

“Emergency preparedness is a team sport and both public and private sector partners play a critical role,” said Court Carruthers, President, Grainger U.S. “The effectiveness of our response will be determined, to a large degree, by what we accomplish preparing ahead of time during these types of events. Grainger is extremely proud to be a part of this partnership.”