MacDill uses Emergency Management exercise to maintain readiness

By Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr. 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

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A truck crashed into a pipeline, rupturing it and causing fuel to spew out soaking the truck. Inside, sat an injured Airman. Personnel would need to act quickly to safely gain control of the situation and save the Airman from further harm.

Don’t be alarmed, though. It was just a simulation to help maintain mission readiness in case a “real world” situation like this one ever occurs.

On Sept. 13, 2016, personnel from various 6th Air Mobility Wing (AMW) agencies around MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, participated in an Emergency Management Exercise. The exercise simulated a fuel spill that resulted from a vehicle accident.

Airmen in the petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) section of the 6th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) played a crucial part in the initial start of the exercise. They were the first to identify and report the accident, as well as shut off the fuel flow and work to prevent it from entering into the water system.

“MacDill POL handles approximately 23 million gallons of fuel annually,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Northington, Fuels Management Flight superintendent assigned to the 6th LRS. “So it is vitally important that we are proficient not only in receiving, storing and issuing the fuel, but also in our emergency response capabilities.”

Soon after, first responders from the Fire Emergency Services Flight, 6th Medical Group, and 6th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) arrived on scene. Firefighters immediately responded to the “injured” Airman to assess any injuries as 6th SFS personnel secured the area. After confirming that it was safe to remove the Airman from the vehicle, firefighters escorted the Airman through decontamination before releasing the Airman to medical personnel.

“The importance of our first responders’ timely response to any emergency is paramount in order to mitigate any situation which threatens lives, property, and the environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Woods, Fire Emergency Services Station captain assigned to the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron. “The Fire Emergency Services Flight’s training and the experience of our firefighters allow us to handle any situation in a timely, effective manner.”

Firefighters took further precautions by checking for additional environmental damage. Additionally, they ensured that the transfer from emergency to recovery operations was smooth before leaving the scene.

“Wing exercises, like the one on Tuesday, allow these agencies to practice our response procedures and allow us to work hand-in-hand leading to successful outcomes,” said Woods. “Continual training between our first responders allows us to protect this Wing as a solidified force, able to mitigate any emergency which arises.”


Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the MacDill Air Force Base website.