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NEWS | Oct. 16, 2018

Safety office inspects new joint confined space rescue training

By Airman First Class Ariel Owings Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

In the midst of an emergency, people may find themselves hit with a rush of adrenaline. The immediate actions of Joint Base MDL first responders are crucial to the outcome of an incident, so they must be proficient and knowledgeable to react appropriately to any situation. To ensure that proficiency, the safety office conducted a confined space recovery and exercise evaluation on base fire fighters here, Oct. 3.

    The 87th Air Base Wing Safety Office inspected the response process of the 87th Civil Engineer Squadron during the exercise, which required fire teams to successfully respond to multiple incidents simultaneously.

    “We are trying to mend our emergency response so we run [more smoothly] in a real world [situation],” said Senior Airman Ryan Smith, 87th CES training specialist. “The objective of today was to respond as a team to this emergency and rescue the victims from the confined space using mechanical advantage and rescue rope systems to pull them out and triage accordingly.”

    The exercise consisted of extracting two training dummies from a confined space under a simulation of dangerous gasses present.

    This was the first evaluation of its kind done recently at Joint Base MDL. Both offices are veering toward a new direction of training to make use of the joint work environment. The exercise brought different departments from the base together to work as a team.

    “[The evaluation] went relatively well,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jeremy Hill, 87th CES NCO in charge of fire prevention. “There was very smooth coordination between all entities involved. This was our operations coordinator’s first time doing something this tight, but it still went very smoothly.”

    Smith said the departments have checklists that follow specific protocols depending on the situation presented. This training event evaluated the accuracy of those checklists to see if there were any gaps that may require them to add additional training or steps.

    “The whole [purpose] is to identify the holes in our operation system so that when it comes to a real emergency, we can operate more effectively,” said Hill. “It was [important] for our guys to [identify] what they were doing wrong.”

    The safety office and fire departments will be working together to create new training exercises that pin-point gaps and mistakes discovered during this exercise. Both units are determined to continue joint training and ensure maximum safety of the Joint Base MDL community members in any emergency they encounter.

    The 87th CES and safety office prepare for any contributing factors that may arise on their way to an emergency. They implore anyone who encounters a dangerous situation to not try and help in any way that would put themselves in harm’s way and create a more difficult situation to resolve. 

    “My first advice in initial actions would be to definitely call 911 and get someone en route to make things happen,” said Hill. “The other part of that is to try to take notes or even mental notes of what you saw happen. Don’t make guesses, only give [emergency responders] the facts. The information is pertinent to the resources that are provided.”