Firefighters share skills, knowledge with host nation partners

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- The 100th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department hosted a National Incident Management System 300/400 course Feb. 16 through 19, 2016, on RAF Mildenhall, England.

The training was intended for senior personnel who are directly involved in emergency management and response. This includes all emergency service related disciplines such as emergency medical services, hospitals, public health, fire service, law enforcement, public works and utilities, skilled support personnel and other emergency management response, support and volunteer personnel. This training was intended to aid people who don't usually work together, to seamlessly respond to, and recover from a natural or man-made disaster.

Master Sgt. Michael Wobser, 100th CES Fire Department assistant chief of operations, and Master Sgt. Dion Bullock, 100th Air Refueling Wing readiness inspections superintendent, facilitated the course at the education center.

"The course benefits current and future senior leaders, who act in, or support, emergency response," said Wobser. "Graduates knowledge of their roles, responsibilities and authority before, during and after an emergency response is greatly enhanced. We hope to instill sound management practices and techniques for emergency management in the attendees. They will take what they have learned back to their respective bases and continue the education process with their peers."

The service members hope to share knowledge and experience with not only other U.S. bases in Europe, but also host nation partners.

"The course was very informative and gives an excellent overview and practical application of the incident command system," said Barry Purdy, RAF Menwith Hill watch manager.

The class appealed to a wide audience from across the UK and beyond, all with a common goal of improving safety. Joining 22 Airmen from five Air Force Specialty Codes were Department of Defense civilians from five UK-U.S. visiting forces bases, along with an off-base firefighter from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

"The course has been a great opportunity to learn about incident management procedures and specifically hear how things are conducted and coordinated in the UK," said 1st Lt. Victoria Cachro, 39th CES Readiness and Emergency Management flight commander from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The topics in the class covered many areas of emergency management including initial response, resource management and planning. The class comes from the states and is shared with bases and their leaders across the world.

"This course is primarily conducted at the U.S. Air Force Louis F. Garland Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, approximately eight to 10 times a year," said Bullock. "With the academy being in a pinnacle training school producing phenomenal firefighters, it also provides incredible advanced incident management techniques for commanders, senior leaders, emergency responders, and incident commanders."

It's important to base leaders across the globe to continue to improve safety, while operating with fewer resources.

"Although the fire academy holds courses throughout the year, being able to conduct the training at RAF Mildenhall will continue to ease training demands Air Force wide, while saving thousands of temporary-duty dollars in our fiscally constrained force," said Bullock. "But these benefits are simply a plus to the greater working relationship and quality joint emergency service U.S. and UK responders provide on a daily basis."

The course directors hope that by bringing service members and civilians from a diverse background together, the wealth of knowledge shared would be extensive.

"The range in diversity of the course attendees enhanced the course content and attendees understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities," said Wobser. "The course is academically demanding and only the highest level of performers are selected to attend."

In the event of an emergency, whether real world or training, leadership is proud of how well agencies work with one another on both sides of the perimeter fence. Courses like this train personnel for the worst, while cementing relationships for the better.

"This class is just one of the many joint training opportunities we share with our mutual aid partners from off base. We know that what happens off base impacts us and vice versa. We also know we must be innovative to share resources and training opportunities in this current fiscally constrained environment," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Mohr, 100th CES fire chief. "This time our host nation brothers were able to join us for this incident command training, the same as we have joined them for road traffic accident courses and real-world fire emergencies. We are very fortunate to have exceptional partnerships with the other United States Air Forces in Europe bases and our off base host nation fire departments."