RENO, NV - They are given explicit instructions, and in a real case of chemical exposure they could save a guardsman's life.
At least that's how Staff Sergeant Rebeka Swatman sees it.
“It's important. If we are not here to protect and be able to survive, what are our family and friends going to have to do?” asks Swatman.
Swatman and more than 350 of her colleagues will spend the next week in an exercise called "Vigilant Blue."
Actually it's several exercises where air guardsmen work through different scenarios that could easily turn into the real thing, once deployed.
”We want to make sure our personnel, our members, and we have 1100 members, can operate in a contaminated environment and they are comfortable in doing that. For today, that's, that's our main goal,” says Major Shannon Manning, installation deployment officer with the Guard.
The Major says these exercises go on every year at this time.
This year it just happens to be on base where equipment was moved and makeshift centers installed.
By the end of the week, what happened today, tomorrow, and even last weekend will be evaluated.
Changes in procedures may be needed.
But as far as the Air Guard is concerned, it's best to find out and react now, rather than when the real-life scenario happens.