(PUEBLO, Colo.) — The last of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) annual exercises will be held on Wednesday, May 3, with tests of emergency alert systems, realistic accident victims, and emergency vehicles.

This CSEPP exercise has been held annually for nearly three decades in Pueblo, in order to test participants’ response capabilities to simulated emergencies, which are then federally evaluated. This will be the community’s final CSEPP exercise, as the program winds down with the destruction of the chemical weapons at the Pueblo Chemical Depot nearing an end.

A joint press release from the Chemical Depot, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), and CSEPP states that nearly 2,000 people from multiple agencies are expected to take part in the exercise on May 3.

Agencies include the American Red Cross, Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, First Student, local hospitals, Health Solutions, Pueblo School District 70, Pueblo School District 60, the Pueblo Chemical Depot, and more than a dozen first response agency personnel from Pueblo County.

Final Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP) exercise
Courtesy: Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office

The exercise will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude in the early afternoon.

The exercise scenario will involve a simulated chemical incident at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot and another non-related emergency within Pueblo County, requiring the
activation of various Emergency Operations Centers, the Pueblo Community Joint Information Center, and decontamination and treatment facilities.

“The annual CSEPP exercise is the culmination of the efforts and coordination between the Pueblo Chemical Depot and Pueblo County,” said the Pueblo Chemical Depot’s Commander, Col. Jason Lacroix. “This exercise validates our support to state and local emergency response teams in the event of a chemical accident or incident on the depot that could impact the local community.”

Two of Pueblo’s public warning capabilities will also be tested during the exercise. The 22 outdoor warning sirens located in the emergency zones surrounding the Pueblo Chemical Depot will be tested as part of the exercise. A test message may also sound during the exercise for nearly 800 weather alert radios, which provide warning for people who are indoors.

The public may see exercise-related activity at several locations in Pueblo County. Responders may be dressed in full protective equipment and mock accident victims will receive realistic looking injury makeup called moulage. Emergency equipment and vehicles will be deployed to various sites to include the Pueblo Mall, Runyon Sports Complex and Colorado State University Pueblo.