EM carries blueprint to emergency response

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman William A. O'Brien
  • 39 ABW
Emergencies arise unexpectedly. Each base has specific risks depending on its location and mission. To ensure these vulnerabilities are accounted for and the base has a plan for emergencies, each base has an emergency management flight.

To perform this operation at Incirlik, a nine-person flight broken down into three sections: plans and operations, logistics and training. Each section aids in ensuring the base is prepared in case of a natural disaster, terrorist attack, major chemical spill or other emergency. They do so by maintaining the Incirlik Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan 10-2, ensuring $14 million worth of equipment remains serviceable and training regularly for potential incidents.

"Emergency management is one of the key fundamental operations on base," said Staff Sgt. Casey Jones, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron Logistics Section support analyst. "It plays into (the) wing role through many different aspects - through the EM program all the way through making sure our base is ready for anything."

Because emergencies occur unexpectedly, the team is constantly on call.

"Most of the time, we work a standard Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. job. We also have incidents that could happen at night time and during the weekends, so we all carry a response cell phone so (people) can get in touch with us at any time, and we can respond," said Jones.

Being able to respond to emergencies starts with a plan. This plan is developed and maintained by the 39th CES Emergency Management Plans and Operations Flight to ensure base preparedness in case of an incident.

"Our plans and operations (section does) the EM program, so all the units on base (have) an emergency management representative to ensure they have checklists in place and emergency capabilities," said 1st Lt. Kathryn Marron, chief of the 39th CES Emergency Management Flight. "Plans also make sure that we're updating our publications regularly."

All the different plans are maintained in the CEMP 10-2, a document made specific to each base outlining the different potential hazards and what to do if an accident were to occur.

"Our Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan 10-2 outlines how the base is going to respond to any type of natural disaster, enemy attack, terrorist incidents, all of that. It also explains how we run our mission here," said Staff Sgt. Justin Alexander 39th CES Emergency Operations Flight Plans and Operations Section NCO in charge.

To ensure this plan is not only good on paper but can also be put to action, plans and operations technicians work with the 39th Air Base Wing Plans and Programs Office, known as XP, so each exercise tests aspects of the response plan.

"The 10-2 tells us how we're going to respond to anything: natural disasters, enemy attacks, major accidents. So we have a piece in almost any exercise that XP does because we hold the 10-2," explained Alexander. The exercises "verify the process we run."

When these exercises and real world situations arise, even with a great plan nothing can be done without equipment. The logistics section is charged with keeping inventory of the equipment and keeping it in working order.

"In logistics, our primary mission is to ensure that all of our response equipment, whether it's for response detection equipment or the responder's pro gear, is fully maintained to ensure the responses flow smoothly and the accident or incident is mitigated," said Jones.

Logistics technicians maintain various pieces of equipment required to perform emergency response. To do this, they perform regular inventories and keep their vehicles packed with serviceable equipment.

"Emergency management needs the logistics side because there is so much equipment to maintain," said Jones.

Even with a plan and the equipment to execute it, without training responders wouldn't be proficient in responding to an incident. That's where the training section comes in - to guarantee the crisis response goes smoothly. The training section leads the flight in a minimum of 16 hours of training per month.

"We have in-house training each week. We're required to do 16 hours a month of in-house training, so we'll go over equipment and procedures, how to do reconnaissance on a scene, how to detect what the hazardous material is and then what we need to do to work with other agencies to mitigate the hazard," added Tech. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez, 39th CE Emergency Management Flight training NCO in charge.

Through this training, emergency management is able to keep their skills and abilities to use response equipment sharp.

"This equipment is going to save people's lives, so it's important you know how to take it in on scene, know how to use it properly and identify what the hazard is," said Gonzalez. "But if you don't know how to use the equipment, when you go (into the hot zone), you become more of a liability; and that's why we're here to ensure everyone knows how to use it."

These three operations running smoothly is paramount because the base's ability to respond to a major accident depends on the ability to maintain operations.

"We have a wide range of responsibilities in (emergency management). We have plans and ops; we have the actual hazmat response portion, which can encompass (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) or toxic industrial chemicals so depending on the situation, we'll suit up and figure out what the best game plan is. That's where training comes in. ... We need to ensure everybody is proficient with all the different pieces of equipment," said Gonzalez. "We have a lot to do and not very much time to do it."

Marron said with the level of expertise that her team is able to bring to the table; if an emergency situation arises, they will be able to respond to it and keep the mission going.

"The guys are really great. They're so technically proficient in their jobs. And they're a good group and a lot of fun to work with," she said. "This is the best flight on the base."