Decon training enhances Airmen readiness

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Andrejcik
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to Incirlik’s emergency management support team received training on how to respond to a contaminated area during an exercise Oct. 20, here.

The training was conducted to assess and improve the team’s proficiency in executing a site survey as well as implementing and carrying out proper decontamination procedures in the event of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incident.

“The EMST is an extremely important asset at Incirlik Air Base because they provide thorough decontamination capabilities for first and emergency responders during any type of CBRN event,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Spurgeon, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron noncommissioned officer in-charge emergency management training. “In order to provide this capability, the EMST must continually train to enhance their skills and maintain proficiency.”

The EMST is comprised of 25 Incirlik members, who are from various Air Force Specialties and range in rank from Airmen to noncommissioned officers. To help build efficiency within such a diverse team, training was broken up into three parts.

“The amount of training and responsibility that is placed on EMST members is quite substantial,” said Spurgeon. “Because of this I try to implement a three-phased approach to their training, a crawl-walk-run.

“I start off by teaching new members why EMST is so important and provide them with the information and skills required to function properly as a team. Once I feel like the team is performing well, we begin to “walk” by introducing another agency such as Explosives Ordnance Disposal. This allows the team to apply the skills they have learned without throwing too much at them at once and creating confusion.”

After the team became familiarized with response procedures, they were tested in the “run” phase of training. Facing this scenario allowed EMST members the opportunity to experience what a real-world situation might present and fully integrate with other first-response agencies.

“During a real-world CBRN incident, many agencies would be involved in the response to the event,” said Spurgeon. “In order to understand how we can best help our counterparts in those situations, we must train together to continually improve our processes and work as a whole instead of several different functions. Ultimately, this will lead to the best practices and the fastest way back to mission continuation after a CBRN event.”

Training events such as this allow EMST Airmen a chance to build confidence in navigating these critical situations, which ultimately protects members involved with responding to a CBRN incident. The 39th CES plans to continue holding EMST exercises with its first-response counterparts to maintain Incirlik’s readiness.

“We want to be prepared for the worst day,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Bow, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency flight commander. “If the absolute worst case occurs, we need to be ready to roll out with emergency personnel who are trained.”