by Airman 1st Class Taylor Bourgeous
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
9/18/2015 - SPOKANE, Wash. -- Fairchild
Air Force Base Airmen worked together with Spokane County emergency
response agencies during a
The exercise kicked off Tuesday morning when the FAFB air traffic
control tower received a mock distress call from the incoming aircraft
stating it lost power to all four engines due to multiple bird strikes
and was going down. Shortly after the fake distress call, the tower lost
all radio contact with the aircraft.
More than 25 first responders from Fairchild and Spokane County arrived
at the simulated crash site, including the Spokane County Sheriff's
Department, Spokane Fire Department and Fairchild's Fire Department,
Security Forces, Medical, Safety, Public Affairs, and Bioenvironmental
teams. The "accident scene" consisted of actual aircraft parts, medical
dummies and other real and simulated debris that would likely be
encountered at an aircraft crash site.
Once on scene, on and off base agencies worked together to ensure they
were communicating and integrating effectively and were in compliance
with all inspection checklists.
"There are just a lot of things, training-wise, that we're doing
together," said Kimo Kuheana, 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief.
"It's just huge overall for Spokane County. We have better responders
In a real-world aircraft crash scenario, the incident commanders would
have to work together to contain any fires, cordon off the crash site
and keep all civilians and media out of the immediate area. In addition
to controlling all of these factors they would have to make sure not to
disturb any of the aircraft debris and protect any human remains.
A mutual aid agreement exists between the base and local community that
allows Air Force resources to be used to assist with off-base incidents
when local response capabilities are either overwhelmed or don't exist,
such as the recent HAZMAT response at Pacific Steel in Spokane.
"They've got resources we simply just don't have," said Brian Schaeffer,
District 9 Assistant Fire Chief. "Within the last couple of years,
especially with the leadership that is out at Fairchild now, the
willingness to go off base and be a part of the community with emergency
resources is unsurpassed."
For the past two years, Fairchild has been working with local emergency
responders during monthly training as part of the mutual aid agreement.
Having these agencies working side by side allows for quicker response
and higher probability of saving lives and protecting property.
"All agencies worked well together," said Master Sgt. Joel Jones, 92nd
Air Refueling Wing flight safety superintendent. "It is always a great
experience when we can pull all of the base and local emergency services
together for a joint exercise."