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Emergency Management sections maintain critical role in base safety


Imagine a scenario where the base is placed on high alert due to an enemy chemical attack.

While the majority of the base population don their chemical protective equipment and remain safe indoors, the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight is outside providing risk assessment and chemical readings. 

The EM flight is made up of four sections; training, plans and operations, logistics, and expeditionary engineering, that help prepare the base for natural disasters or enemy attacks.

"We make sure the base is prepared for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks, as well as natural disasters and suspicious packages," said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Aaron Stubbs, 31st CES readiness and EM journeyman.

By training others, EM Airmen remain prepared for effective emergency response.

"We have CBRN training every Tuesday to inspect equipment and educate attendees on how to use their equipment during a contamination incident," said Stubbs. "Training is the most important part of our job."

Emergency management also trains with Airmen from several different squadrons to add another layer of safety to Aviano Air Base, Italy.   

"We train with other units such as bio-environmental engineering and fire and emergency services in order to react effectively," said Senior Airman Molly Clune, 31st CES readiness and EM journeyman. "Other response teams [include] 31st Mission Support Group personnel called the emergency management support team, and are trained on what to do in case of recalls."

The plans and operations section are in charge of creating a strong response plan during an emergency. They set procedures and guidelines to ensure teams follow proper steps.

"This section reviews and revises base plans such as the installation emergency management plan and the contingency response plan," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Spranger, 31st CES readiness and EM craftsman. "We maintain the emergency operations center, manage the CBRN control center and advise installation leaders on protective actions."

To ensure the training and plans are executed, the logistics section comes into play.

"The logistics section maintains all equipment for any CBRN responses and provides protective gear for all emergency response teams," said Staff Sgt. Michael Marti, 31st CES readiness and EM craftsman. "We are responsible for our vehicles, warehouses, and any other support resource needed to accomplish the mission."

All the sections working together is paramount to emergency preparedness not just at Aviano, but for Airmen deploying as well. Along with staying current on all training, the expeditionary engineering section compiles documents and information.

"Expeditionary engineering ensures all CES members deploying have the training needed," said Staff Sgt. Jaimee Marti, 31st CES unit deployment manager. "The requirement can be home station or deployment-specific training needed for a temporary assignment."

These four sections collectively assess and re-evaluate how all Wyvern Warriors perform as a team during emergency situations.

"There are many different 'hats' we have to wear and we have to be able to switch from one role to another quickly," said Senior Airman Luke Luallin, 31st CES Readiness and EM journeyman. "Making that switch is very important in this job."

It's through the regular training, well-set plans, sound logistical support and constant deployment readiness that Airmen stay prepared for the worst-case scenario.

"We always need to be prepared. One of our sayings is 'We hope we never have to do our job,'" said Stubbs. "But if we have to, we're ready."