WASHINGTON (Oct. 1, 2013) -- First responders in the National Capital Region need to keep their skills at a high level of proficiency. Participating in Capital Shield 14 is one of the methods they used to maintain their expertise.Capital Shield 2014 is a joint training exercise in the National Capital Region, or NCR, that runs from Sept. 30 thru Oct. 3, and is hosted by the Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region. It brings federal, state, local and municipal agencies together to realistically test interagency operability during a crisis impacting the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. It also trains and prepares the Department of Defense to provide defense support to civil authorities and employ appropriate force protection measures as requested."The importance of Capital Shield lies in the fact that emergencies are imminent," said Cory R. Wright, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Capital Shield Exercise director. "They happen. When will they happen? We don't know, but the importance of knowing who will respond and what their capabilities are can contribute to an emergency within the nation's capital.""Because we are all regional partners, it's nice to be able to pick up the phone and know the other person on the end of the line when you are in need of some help," said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Paul Ruwe. "It's a lesson learned from 9/11. We had good regional contact with the FBI Washington office, and that really helped after the attack on the Pentagon."Ruwe was acting as the Incident Commander and worked with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, II Marine Expeditionary Force, during the opening day of Capital Shield 14, at the Lorton Va., emergency training site, Sept. 30.More than 38 participating agencies from DOD and capital region response agencies performed mock mass casualty rescues, defense support to civil agency technical rescues and law enforcement tactical responses. The goal of the exercise is to ensure government agencies at every level are prepared to coordinate action to protect the public in the event of an actual disaster in the National Capital Region."Cross training with first responders, law enforcement and our military prepares us for real world natural or man-made disasters," said Wright. "In the end, it's good to learn the strengths and weakness in a training environment. So if there were an emergency in the NCR, each agency will know exactly what to do."