First Responders: Covered on all sides

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristina Overton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
Editors Note: This is the last of a four part series highlighting the teams that make up the first responder units.

The safety and security of an installation in times of emergency are reliant on a group of responders who report on-scene first to engage and neutralize incidents and occurrences.

After a 9-1-1 call is placed to a dispatcher, a process begins to distribute information to emergency services personnel who will respond. Each individual uses their capabilities to mitigate through emergency situations. On Malmstrom, firefighters and security forces are assisted by other agencies to work together to provide first response to emergencies.

"You'll always see security forces and the fire department on the scene of an emergency," said Russell White, 341st Civil Engineering Squadron assistant fire chief. "The fire department is always on scene to provide the initial medical treatment if needed, to monitor the incident and prevent fire hazards. The security forces will be present to protect and secure the area, and to make sure that personnel are protected as well."

Along with the fire department and base law enforcement, other base agencies collaboratively work to provide support to the wing.

"Depending on the type of emergency will determine who response teams will need to assist them," Mr. White said. "Once we've received a call, the first thing we'll do is find out where everything is and what exactly the situation entails. The capabilities of the individual groups establish who we'll need to support us."

Other agencies that may assist in emergency response include the Explosives Ordnance Disposal team, the CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or Explosive) Emergency Response Force and the Medical Field Response team.

The CERF team is made up of base Bioenvironmental staff and members of the Readiness and Emergency Management flight who work together to protect Malmstrom from potential biological threats.

"We determine the proper protective measures for the affected workers or base populace in the event of a biological threat," said Master Sgt. Todd Beal, 341st Medical Operations Squadron Bioenvironmental non-commissioned officer in charge. "This could include protective equipment, worker rotations, sheltering in place or time distance shielding for radiation."

Possessing equipment able to identify any chemical, biological or radiological warfare agents or substances, provide protective measures and equipment as needed for the installation, and determine quickly and effectively the best response procedure for any possible scenario makes the team an asset in the event of a biological emergency.

When it comes to other situations such as suspicious packages and bomb threats, an EOD team is called out as a first responder.

"In the event of any situation that has the risk of explosive hazards or objects that are deemed suspect, then they'll request EOD," said Master Sgt. Cimarron Reeves, 341st CES EOD superintendent. "Our capabilities allow us to ensure that if there is a suspicious package, or damage to one of the bases weapons systems, that we're able to go in, verify as to what the damage is and stabilize the situation so that no one is harmed."

Teams are on standby 24 hours a day and are supplied as needed to eliminate potential danger. They utilize items such as HD-1 and F6 robots capable of inspecting and disposing of explosives; water cannons with the ability to disrupt the function of IED's; and bomb suits to respond to threats.

The Medical Field Response team plays a critical role in first response as well. Due to the mission at Malmstrom, some incidents may occur off of the installation, and in those instances the team is able to provide the needed emergency care.

"The Medical Field Response team consists of doctors, nurses and technicians that are equipped to give on-site care in the event of an emergency situation," said Airman 1st Class Zachary Freeman, 341st MDOS aerospace medical services technician. "We have a trailer with the supplies necessary to give immediate medical care in a field setting and do whatever is necessary to stabilize or attempt to save a patient."

Each different agency provides collaborative support to ensure that in the event of an emergency situation, every possible measure is taken to protect the installation and its assets. Because of the dispatcher who gets the initial call and filters the message, because of the firemen who takes emergency action to ensure that incidents are resolved, because of the security forces members who make sure the installation is all secure, and thanks to the assisting agencies who use their capabilities to resolve things within their expertise, Malmstrom is covered on all sides.