The first ones in

  • Published
  • By Airman Daniel Brosam
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs Office
The possibility of being exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or neurological hazards are low, but being safe is a number one priority of the Air Force.

In order to ensure a safe and secure work environment from dangerous hazards, the 341st Medical Operations Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineering personnel conduct health risk assessments. They are also responsible for gas mask fit testing, monitoring thermal stress and responding to CBRN events.

Senior Airman Kyle Lima, 341st MDOS bioenvironmental engineering technician, has been doing just that for more than three years.

"We monitor the occupational health of workers," said Lima. "We go out to shops and assess their hazards, make sure they're using the proper personal protective equipment and that their PPE is actually controlling the hazards."

Each industrial area on base has been assessed for hazards and is characterized from category one to three, the latter being less hazardous. Category three is reassessed as needed, category two every 30 months and category one, every year.

When conducting assessments Lima said there is a stigma when a shop sees Bioenvironmental Engineering coming but that he only wants to make sure everyone is safe.

"We're not trying to come down on anyone and that's the misconception," said Lima. "I'm just going out there and making sure people are taking the proper procedures in being as safe as possible."

Bioenvironmental Engineering works with both the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management team and fire department to respond to hazardous material incidents.

When a call is received, the officers in charge guide them with the best plan to assess and control the hazard, Lima said.

Airman 1st Class William Raetz, 341st MDOS bioenvironmental engineering technician, said their leadership plays a very important role in handling the job the safest and most efficient way.

"We depend on our leadership a lot," said Raetz. "They are the ones that make the decisions about what we do and we're the ones that suit up and go in."

Lima stressed the importance of safety and wants people to know that it is always the number one priority.

"Think safety first," said Lima. "Accidents happen when people make unsafe decisions. Would you rather be safe or practical?"