6:00: Morning News

Guard hosts training exercise in Charleston as Qatar prepares to host 2022 FIFA World Cup

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Emergency first responders, including local firefighters and members of the West Virginia National Guard, came together Sunday for a training exercise as Qatar gets ready to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

Brig. Gen. Michael Cadle

Demonstrations and activities highlighting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response efforts took place at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.

Brig. Gen. Michael Cadle with the Guard told MetroNews the drill simulates a chemical weapons attack.

“They’re doing some hazardous materials response, search and extraction, they’re looking around the site here for victims who have gone down because of the chemical agent, those types of things,” Cadle explained.

Qatar doesn’t have an interagency partnership with their fire and EMS departments, so officials said the drill shows them what that would look like with all local agencies involved.

The Charleston Fire Department was part of the effort.

Cpt. Les Smith

“This is an integration aspect. This is the first time they’ve actually worked with a civilian agency,” Cpt. Les Smith said. “After talking to them for the past few weeks, at home, they don’t have an interagency partnership with their fire department, so this is a new thing for them.”

The tournament is set to take place Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.

“This is a good chance for them to see how an event of this magnitude would truly operate in their area,” Smith said.

Cadle said coming together with multiple agencies helps speed up response times.

“No entity can do this alone,” he said. “When the first-responder infrastructure gets overwhelmed with an event like this, we have specialized capabilities to step in and assist.”

The WVNG is partners with Qatar through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program and actively assists Qatar to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities.

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