Rocky Mountain Labs host multi-agency training


HAMILTON, Mont. - Anyone who lives near or was passing by Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton Tuesday may have done double takes at all the activity.

It was a multi-agency training exercise behind the fence at RML's closely guarded campus.

Everything was a simulation.

It involved the FBI, the Montana National Guard's civil support team and hazmat teams from Missoula and RML, as well as laboratory scientists.

In the training scenario someone was trying to leave the lab with a dangerous pathogen.

Emergency teams were notified of the incident, apprehended the suspect and secured the scene.

After all that, the teams had to identify the pathogen, determine what the risks were and take steps to decontaminate exposed areas.

"The expertise that comes out of Hamilton," said Lt. Tim Sayles from the regional hazmat response team, "and the knowledge they give and share with our team, and the manpower we can put together with Missoula city and rural fire departments is paramount for the citizens of Montana."

Participants said it was helpful to bring everybody together physically to work side by side in a realistic situation.

Rocky Mountain Laboratories had sent out postcards to people who live in the area to make sure they were aware of the exercise.