© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Missouri conducts 'dirty bomb' drill

(KWMU Photo)
Skip Ricketts with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, displays a gas mask the state keeps in one of seven mobile emergency response vans. Ricketts took part in a mock dirty bomb drill in St. Louis on Wednesday.

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The state of Missouri tested its capability to respond to a radiological attack Wednesday during a drill conducted in St. Louis and two other cities.

Policymakers in St. Louis, Kansas City and Jefferson City faced a scenario in which several so-called "dirty bombs" exploded across the state. A dirty bomb is an explosive that releases radioactive matter.

St. Louis City Emergency Management Agency chief Gary Christmann says the drill was unique in that it coordinated both city and state.

"It gives us a chance to face to face sit down and understand what all the departments' responsibilities are, and also determine where our resources are," Christmann said.

Christmann says such drills point out gaps in the planning process and make responders more attuned to surprises that may occur in a real emergency.

Skip Ricketts, with the Environmental Emergency Response Unit of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, says the drill reinforced the kind of real-world skills that came into play during the Praxair fire in June.

"We had a release of chemicals - unknown chemicals. We had a neighborhood close by, affected people; fires, explosions. Everyone seemed to check in to the appropriate person we worked together, all bringing our expertise into the problem," Ricketts said.


Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.