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Emergency managers update skills in Michigan gathering

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialist conduct training on responding to hazardous materials while at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 10, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialist conduct training on responding to hazardous materials while at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 10, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialists put on gas masks during a training session at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 8, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialists put on gas masks during a training session at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 8, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialist conduct training on responding to hazardous materials while at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 10, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve emergency management specialist conduct training on responding to hazardous materials while at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., April 10, 2015. Emergency management Airmen from six states recently gathered in Alpena to conduct a series of training exercises and classes to maintain their skill proficiency. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Senior Airman Aric Kaufmann, an emergency management specialist with the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron, briefs a group of Airman on the capabilities of the Mobile Emergency Operations Center during a training session at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, April 10, 2015. The vehicle, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, is one of two such MEOCs available to support civil authorities in the Upper Great Lakes region. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

Senior Airman Aric Kaufmann, an emergency management specialist with the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron, briefs a group of Airman on the capabilities of the Mobile Emergency Operations Center during a training session at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, April 10, 2015. The vehicle, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, is one of two such MEOCs available to support civil authorities in the Upper Great Lakes region. (U.S. Air National Guard photo)

ALPENA COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Mich. -- Air Force emergency management specialists from six states gathered in northern Michigan recently to update and hone their skills.

The 39 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen came from nine different air wings in the Upper Great Lakes region to practice responding to various scenarios ranging from dealing with hazardous materials, using decontamination equipment and related skills.

"Bringing everyone together at once allows us to really concentrate on the core skills that are required not only to keep everyone certified but to allow people to respond to real-world situations," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Tarquino, a readiness and emergency management specialist with the 127th Civil Engineer Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The training was held in early April at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, a facility operated by the Michigan Air National Guard. The participants came from military units in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, which together make up the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region V.

Included in the training were familiarization sessions with the Mobile Emergency Operations Center, or MEOC, maintained by the 127th CES at Selfridge. The command and communications vehicle at Selfridge is one of two such vehicles in the six-state region and can respond to emergency situations anywhere in the region.