Kadena emergency response Airmen train together
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen are participating in an Integrated Base Emergency Response Capabilities Training exercise March 16-20 to improve their ability to react to hazardous chemical threats on Kadena Air Base.
Airmen bioenvironmental engineering, emergency management, emergency medical service and firefighter Airmen here and is led by instructors from the Alliance Solutions Group Inc., from Newport News, Va. in an effort to streamline emergency response.
Over the IBERCT exercise, Airmen were challenged to react to mock-emergency scenarios at an accelerated pace such as the discovery of an unknown white powder, chemical leak, explosion or radiation.
"It's exciting because this gives us an opportunity to do something outside of the typical exercise situations that we tend to get accustomed to," said Staff Sgt. James Baker, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Readiness and Emergency Management Flight training NCOIC. "In a smaller training scenario, one agency might finish their work first and leave because they've completed their objectives. With this, everyone is in it together until the last thing is done."
Approximately two days are dedeicated to hands-on training in a classroom for Airmen to overview and familiarize themselves with response procedures. The responders took a proficiency test on the first day and will take another at the end of the week to see what was learned and how much their skillsets have sharpened. Baker, who received ASG training at his last assignment, said that if it's anything like his previous experience, everyone will make a significant improvement.
Whether it's real-world or an exercise, Airmen from emergency response career fields frequently rely on one another to resolve hazards, which is why members from various agencies are being paired up to complete specific tasks. Many of them have never worked together before, yet they are still expected to rely on their training and complete their objective.
"We frequently have new Airmen who just arrived here and this helps them get comfortable with the new equipment and, most importantly, working together with our emergency management counterparts," said Master Sgt. Gerald Braswell, 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight chief. "Technically we don't work together, but we respond together as one team."
The training presented new and unfamiliar scenarios for the Airmen along with new opportunities for them to combine their assets to solve problems.
"Some of their equipment is similar to ours, so we get to become more familiar with each other's capabilities," said Braswell. "This helps us to capitalize on using our best resources to keep people safe."
Throughout the week, responders will be dealt more complex and difficult situations by the ASG instructors, resulting in higher levels of stress and more challenges to learn from, followed by an overview of their performance on the final day.
"I think this will help boost confidence with everybody involved, whether it's something they've done 100 times before or something they've never done," said Baker. "They'll walk away more confident in their role as a responder and then as a cohesive team who works together, rather than separately."