Stillwater Scout Troops Participate in FEMA Training
How “Be Prepared” goes further than Scouting
On July 27, 2017, Stillwater Scouts from Troop 9132 and Troop 249
participated in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) required
drill with the Washington County Emergency Management team in Cottage
Grove. As part of the drill, the Scouts helped the reception center
staff prepare for real world scenarios and learned how to deal with a
radiological release emergency.
What is FEMA?
FEMA is a federal agency that was created in 1979, with its mission
being: "to prepare for, prevent, and respond to and recover from
disasters." FEMA tackles many different types of emergency situations
such as natural disasters, radiation and the transportation of
hazardous materials, and after September 11, 2001, it became part of
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help respond to terrorist
They work to make sure citizens are trained and equipped with the
skills needed to deal with emergencies of all types. FEMA training goes
hand in hand with the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." and even has a
similar motto, "A Nation Prepared."
Stillwater Scouts and REP Training
Leaders of the Scout Troops helped set up a way to participate in
emergency exercises as a requirement for the BSA Emergency Preparedness
Award. The 18 Scouts and their family members who attended the drill
worked with the Washington County Emergency Management team and over
100 volunteers from partnering organizations to observe and participate
in the Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) drill. It teaches
citizens how to respond to radiation emergencies, as well as what
radiation is, and how to protect themselves from it.
"It's great for the Scouts to learn about these procedures to
be more aware of the processes involved in the event of a radiation
release," Lee Dhein, the Washington County Specialist in Emergency
Management said. "This drill allowed them to see how we respond to
these incidents and work together with different agencies from across
the county and state."
The Scouts and their families received explanations about what was
going to happen and that nobody was going to be exposed to any possible
contamination. At the Cottage Grove Reception Center, where the drill
occurred, there were FEMA personnel, Cottage Grove Fire and
Police Department, MN Department of Human Services, local members of
the Medical Reserve Corps, and the American Red Cross, and some of the
equipment these organizations use to serve and protect us. "This
training showed the Scouts that "Be Prepared." is more than a motto,
but a lifelong approach to living safely," Mark Hartmann, Committee
Chair for Troop 9132 of Stillwater, said.
About FEMA and REP Training
The REP drill is facilitated annually. There are trainings that are
held about 1-2 weeks prior to the drill to prepare staff and
participants. Prior to the drill, participants partake in an online
training course through the Minnesota DHS website. On the day of the
drill, the Emergency Management team presents them with hands-on
training to familiarize them with the equipment they use. "The training
sessions are about 10% lecture and 90% hands-on. We introduce ourselves
and breakdown the plan of action for the day and present the "right to
know" information as part of federal regulation. From there, it's all
about teaching the participants how to use the equipment and going over
safety protocols for radiation levels," Dhein said.
After the training, they put their new skills and knowledge to use
at the drill. Being prepared can be key in the event of an emergency,
and knowing how to respond is just as important. There are all kinds of
tools available for the public on FEMA's website (www.fema.gov) to help
prepare for a multitude of disasters.
Interested in Learning More?
If you or your Troop would like to learn more about the Emergency
Preparedness Award visit:
To find out more about FEMA training or the REP drill, contact Bill
Sulinckas, the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Coordinator
for the Midwest, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (312)