In a recent simulated emergency scenario at Osan Air Force Base, South Korea, two groups within the 51st Fighter Wing jointly responded to an improvised explosion with the goal of determining the overall impact on the surrounding area.
The scenario was part of a weeklong series of intense, integrated emergency response capability training exercises for two 51st Fighter Wing groups: emergency managers from the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron and bio-environmental engineers from the 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron. In early August, the groups teamed on the integrated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training at the U.S. Air Force base.
“Normal exercise scenarios are often time-constrained, so Bio-environmental Engineering and Emergency Management often do not get to train on all roles and responsibilities," Maj. Jung Lee, commander of the 51st Aerospace Medicine Squadron, told BioPrepWatch. “This training event focused solely on our areas of responsibilities, and allowed us to fully utilize our knowledge and skill sets without any interruptions.”
Lee said the training – which was developed by Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) -- was specifically designed for hazardous material (HazMat) emergency responders. ASG instructors coached the 51st Fighter Wing teams through various scenarios that were based on tactics used by opposing forces, while also adding in a radiological aspect.
“It is not intended for all military members or all emergency responders," Lee told BioPrepWatch about the training exercises. And because HazMat responses are "highly complex and difficult,” Lee said that practicing inter-department integration is always beneficial.
ASG instructors have visited several U.S. Air Force bases across the Pacific Region, conducting these in-depth training exercises with the initial and follow-on responders. Lee said all participants had to complete pre- and post-tests.
However, according to Lee, “there will not be another training event like this for at least another year.”
Nevertheless, he said that Bio-environmental Engineering, Emergency Management, and Republic of Korea Air Force Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) teams routinely perform joint training throughout the year.
“This joint training helps us understand each other's capabilities, while promoting cohesion,” Lee said.