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    193rd SOW Airmen conduct radiation response exercise

    193rd SOW Airmen conduct radiation response exercise

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Tony Harp | Two U.S. Airmen from the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Pennsylvania Air National...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Tony Harp 

    193rd Special Operations Wing

    MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Airmen from the 193rd Special Operations Wing conducted a radiation exercise Sept. 13 in Middletown.

    The exercise was to practice the response to a radiological incident for Airmen in the emergency management and bioenvironmental engineering career fields.

    “We have to suit up at least once a year in the bio career field,” said Master Sgt. Nichole Kutsor, the bioenvironmental engineering NCO in charge with the 193rd Special Operations Medical Group. “Emergency management had a tasker to conduct a radiation exercise. We utilized the equipment and tools we already have to create an exercise and make it as real-world as possible.”

    The exercise began with a response to the scene from security forces, who set up a perimeter around the area. The emergency management and bioenvironmental engineering Airmen then responded.

    “We initially set up the main staging area, that’s where our lead was,” said Kutsor. “From there we set up the decon area. We conducted operation checks on our equipment and gear, including radios. Established what the team roles were. Made sure the lines of communication were open, working and accurate. Everybody knew what their role was and what they were doing.”

    Airman 1st Class Jason Henderson, an emergency management specialist with the 193rd Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron, discussed the initial goals after their response.

    “The first thing we need to do is setup the safe zone, determine how close people can get to the building without being negatively affected by the radiation coming off of the source,” said Henderson. “Next we will go in and evaluate specifically what kind of radiation we’re dealing with and then we can best determine a plan as to how best contain it.”

    The Airmen operated in two different teams, each wearing protective gear and assigned to survey the area to find and mark the simulated radiation sources.

    “We [the initial entry team] responded in level-A suits, which are fully encapsulating. The self-contained breathing apparatus was inside the suit,” said Kutsor. “Information provided was that there were radiation sources on site. Although there was a known potential radiation concern, we still had to be prepared for the possibility of unknown hazards, hence the level-A suit. The team utilized several pieces of equipment to identify absence/presence of the radiation source. Once we identified that a radiation source was on site, we contacted the lead to provide readings, took photographs, drew a location map, and marked the location of the source. The team then established hot, warm and cold zones based off readings.”

    During the initial entry, the team gathered as much information they could to help prepare the next team for entry.

    Once the initial entry team finished their survey, they proceeded to the decontamination area to process through. After completing the decon line, the initial entry team briefed the next team and provided them the intel they gathered from their search. The second team was able to transition to a level-B suit, where the SCBA is on the outside of the suit. This was identified by the radiation levels that were collected from the first team. Their mission was to continue to survey the area to see if there were any other potential radiation hazards, identify the type of isotope, and conduct shielding operations.

    The training not only fulfilled the yearly-requirement for bioenvironmental and emergency management Airmen to operate in the protective suits, but they were also able to sign off on upgrade-training tasks for several Airmen, said Kutsor. The training also allowed for team-building between the two organizations, recognition of areas of improvement, and an increase in response capabilities.



    Date Taken: 10.29.2019
    Date Posted: 10.29.2019 12:03
    Story ID: 349684
    Location: MIDDLETOWN, PA, US 

    Web Views: 57
    Downloads: 1