Emergency Responders receive integrated CBRN training
By Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm , 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 13, 2015
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Emergency Managers from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron teamed up with Bioenvironmental Engineers from the 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron August 3-7, to participate in a series of intense, integrated base emergency response capability training exercises.
Alliance Solutions Group, a company that has developed a unique training platform that integrates the individual capabilities of fire and emergency services, bioenvironmental engineers, and readiness and emergency management shops into a cohesive response unit, coached the teams through scenarios based off of tactics utilized by opposing forces, while adding in a radiological aspect. ASG instructors have visited various Air Force bases across the Pacific region to conduct in-depth training with the initial and follow-on responders.
In one scenario, emergency managers and bioenvironmental engineers responded to a simulated vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device that detonated outside of a building. The teams had to respond appropriately in order to determine what had the potential impact was to the area.
Wearing level A, fully encapsulated, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection suits with self-contained breathing apparatus, Senior Airman Timothy Burnett, 51st AMDS bioenvironmental engineering journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Benjamin Thompson, 51st CES emergency management apprentice, were the first to analyze the scene. They utilized equipment that allowed them to identify the simulated radioactive isotopes and take airborne readings to assess the danger levels at the scene.
"The level A [CBRN suit] has a window that offers no peripherals so you can wind up with tunnel vision, and it's hot; very hot," said Thompson.
Studies on the effect of CBRN equipment and the wearer show that temperature increases in the suits can cause a dangerous spike in the core body temperature of the wearer, resulting in loss of dexterity, cognitive thought and reduced motor skills.
"Heat is a big factor for us as emergency responders," said Staff Sgt. Steven Staab, a 51st AMDS bioenvironmental engineer craftsman. "When we're in these suits it gets pretty hot, and you can feel yourself getting drained physically and mentally trying to do all that you need to do out in the field."
"These exercises are designed to push them to their physical and mental limits," said Jessica Feil, an ASG instructor. This week not only allowed the teams' time to integrate and practice responding, but trained and refined their skills in hazmat operations.
"This training has given us an opportunity for the practical application of skills while teaching us new ones, identifying any weaknesses and helping us to work with our counterparts to see where are combined capabilities lie," said Staab.