167th's emergency responders particpate in week of exercises

  • Published
  • By By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle

The 167th Airlift Wing conducted a week-long emergency response training event that culminated in a full-scale exercise, March 2.

The training program, CAMR, or Counter CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) All-hazard Management Response, was facilitated by Federal Resources, contracted by the Air National Guard.

Discussion based training sessions, or table top exercises, were conducted at the Martinsburg, W.Va. air base Feb. 27 through March 1, giving 167th AW emergency responders an opportunity to talk through their roles during various multi-jurisdictional, multi-hazard response scenarios.

Table top exercises are beneficial because they allow responders to thoroughly discuss a situation that would normally be time sensitive, said Staff Sgt. Joshua Robins, a command and control operator for the 167th AW.

In the Command Post we do not have the time to think about who we need to notify, it must be automatic. The flow of information can determine whether or not the incident has a positive or negative outcome,” Robins said.

On the final day of the CAMR exercise, the wing was tested on its ability to respond to a white powdery substance found in the mail shed.

The 167th AW’s security forces, fire department, bioenvironmental engineering, emergency management and the patient decontamination team were among the functions involved in the final CAMR training event.

“The full-scale exercise today brought all the functional areas together. This training better prepares us for our domestic operations and ensures the wing is ready to react and respond to a CBRN or HAZMAT incident on the installation,” said Master Sgt. Gary Fletcher, the 167th bioenvironmental engineering superintendent and the lead planner for the CAMR exercise.

Fletcher worked with Federal Resources prior to the exercise to outline specific objectives for the week. Federal Resources creates and facilitates customizable emergency response training events for military and civilian first responders.

CAMR is not a required exercise but it helps the wing meet many of its annual training requirements.

 “These types of exercises help us fine tune our skills and find out what our capabilities are. We think we know what they are, but until we do these exercises we really don’t know,” said Master Sgt. Patrick Judy, the 167th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent.

 Despite the hazardous winds on Friday, the wing continued with the exercise as scheduled.

“I applaud the leadership for allowing this to go forward,” said Jeff Borkowski, the Senior Lead Instructor for Federal Resources. “A lot of places we go don’t want to play when the weather gets nasty, but when something bad happens it usually happens at the worst possible time.”