Japan, U.S. responders participate in aircraft egress training

by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members from Kadena and local Okinawa emergency agencies participated in an aircraft egress training event Oct. 29 at Kadena Air Base.

The event was held to let both U.S. forces and Okinawan emergency forces work together and know what to do in the event of an aircraft mishap and learn how to coordinate responses between one another.

The training focused on the safe removal of personnel from a simulated aircraft mishap involving a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion.

The training emphasized building the relationships between both U.S. and Okinawan forces to improve bilateral communication and teamwork, said Rochelle Blount, Fleet Activities Okinawa emergency management officer.

This relationship is vital to ensuring smooth and swift responses if an aircraft mishap were to occur. Established communication between both forces is crucial to accomplishing this.

"In a worst case scenario, if an aircraft mishap does occur, then U.S. forces and our Japanese partners are able to respond to that mishap or that possible accident," said U.S. Army Col. Brady Crosier, Okinawa Area Field Office chief and manager of the training. "Then we can efficiently or effectively rescue any personnel."

The Okinawan responders were given an aircraft familiarization briefing before the training began. It allowed locals to see the different functions of the P-3 and how the responders could potentially help injured personnel and contain a fire in the event of a crash.

In addition to the brief, they were also provided a walk-through of the aircraft and shown several different emergency operations that can be performed during an emergency on a P-3, as well as being shown the different support vehicles that could provide aid to a scene and the tools that are used to contain a situation.

"We want to ensure that local response agencies are able to cope with an aircraft disaster," said Master Sgt. Christopher Gerwick, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant fire chief. "If the P-3 were to crash off-base, they'd be able to respond effectively and all the hazards would be known so it wouldn't be as much of a surprise."

The tour also provided the Japanese responders an opportunity to interact with U.S. Navy personnel from the 46th Patrol Squadron and personnel from the 18th CES. Establishing relationships between each emergency response agency increases the effectiveness of teamwork in the event of an aircraft mishap.

"It's a huge team effort, because you do respond together," said Blount. "Not one agency responds alone. When we respond, we respond together as a team effort."

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