CNN BREAKING NEWS
Talk with Member of Washington National Guard
Aired April 22, 2003 - 11:25 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: There is a National Guard unit on the scene there, and we have spoken for the National Guard, Col. Rick Patterson on the phone with us right now.
Colonel, what can you tell us about what you know is taking place at this facility?
COL. RICK PATTERSON, WASHINGTON NATL. GUARD: Our team was asked early this morning, and responded to that request from the Tacoma Fire Department. This team is very specialized and has very sophisticated equipment to assist first responders like this for possible suspected incidents.
KAGAN: OK, first of all, we've heard over and over again to be very cautious about the positive results on this initial test. What is it about those tests that they tend to have so many false positives?
PATTERSON: Well, I'm certainly not an expert on the equipment that was initially used, although that is what we understand, that the initial test frequently can be inaccurate. It's because of their degree of sophistication, whereas the team that we dispatched this morning has extremely sophisticated equipment that will hopefully rule out those inaccurate readings and actually be able to pinpoint something. That's going to take some time.
KAGAN: What kind of time are we talking about, colonel?
PATTERSON: Well, It can be several hours. Certainly when dealing with all the possible suspected material we could be looking at here, it easily could take several hours.
KAGAN: And can you tell us more about the equipment that the National Guard unit has?
PATTERSON: Well, again, I'm not an expert in this area. But it's the most state of the art, sophisticated testing and analysis equipment. These teams have been funded and were fielded by Congress several years ago. Our team in particular has been functioning for over four now. Their equipment is not military equipment, it's equipment that comes from the most sophisticated medical and biotesting equipment that exists in the market today. So it's very accurate equipment. Just takes a lot of time to work through all of it and make some assessments.
KAGAN: And to do it carefully and accurately, which of course is important. Just one other note, colonel, we had heard that this unit just happened to be doing exercises in the area anyway?
PATTERSON: Well, the team is, as a fire department is, essentially on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So whether the team happened to be local, I mean, they happened to be stationed here in Tacoma, so it was very appropriate.
KAGAN: Convenient for the situation.
But no, they're available 24 hours a day, and were able to respond very, very quickly.
PATTERSON: All right, that's important. And also important for you, as you pointed out, they responded quickly, but also their work does take time. They want to get it right, of course. These initial tests reporting positive. But as we've been reporting, those tests can be false positives.
Colonel Rick Patterson, the spokesperson for the National Guard in Washington State, thank you.
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