Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fort McCoy Vehicle Recovery.

Fort McCoy firefighters train in icy waters
FORT MCCOY, WI, UNITED STATES

03.23.2018
Courtesy Photo
Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office            

Members of the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department retrieve a vehicle from the water at an ice-covered Big Sandy Lake on South Post on March 23, 2018, at Fort McCoy, Wis. Firefighters completed diver training to remove the sunken vehicle from the bottom of the lake. Fort McCoy firefighters regularly train on a variety of life-saving skills to maintain certifications and readiness. (U.S. Army Photo by Jeremy Olivier, Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department, Fort McCoy, Wis.)


Fort McCoy firefighters train in icy waters
FORT MCCOY, WI, UNITED STATES

04.13.2018
Story by Scott Sturkol           
Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office            

Members of the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department completed diving training at an ice-covered Big Sandy Lake on South Post on March 23, 2018, at Fort McCoy, Wis. 

Firefighters held the training to remove a sunken vehicle from the bottom of the lake. 

Fort McCoy firefighters regularly train on a variety of life-saving skills to maintain certifications and readiness.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at www.mccoy.army.mil, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Air Force to assess water contamination risk at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base

Air Force to assess water contamination risk at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base
Photo By 1st Lt. Andrew B Layton | The Air Force will conduct environmental sampling at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base in mid-April to assess the potential for drinking water contamination stemming from past firefighting activities. (Air National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton/released)
BATTLE CREEK, MI, UNITED STATES
04.12.2018
Story by 1st Lt. Andrew B Layton
110th Attack Wing 

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The Air Force will conduct environmental sampling at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base in mid-April to assess the potential for drinking water contamination stemming from past firefighting activities.

The sampling is part of the Air Force’s proactive, service-wide investigation to assess potential risk to drinking water from Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfanate (PFOS), two compounds found in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).

In 1970, the Air Force began using AFFF, which contains PFOS/PFOA. AFFF is the most efficient extinguishing method for petroleum fires and is widely used across the firefighting industry, to include all commercial airports, for protection of people and property.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a health advisory for PFOS and PFOA in 2016.

As part of the Air Force’s three-step approach — identify, respond, protect — a preliminary assessment was completed in 2015 that identified potential release areas where AFFF was used at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base. The groundwater sampling, which begins April 16th, will verify releases through groundwater, surface water, soil, and sediment sampling.

“The data and site information gathered throughout the investigation are intended to protect human health and minimize our environmental impact, both on and off the installation,” said Col. Bryan Teff, base commander. “The Air National Guard is a community-based organization, so we take our commitment to being good neighbors with the citizens of Battle Creek very seriously.”

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), working in conjunction with state and local health agencies, is already in the process of a proactive plan to sample drinking water wells around the base, according to MDEQ spokeswoman Melanie Brown.

"We want to test as a precaution, in order to determine if there is need for any further environmental investigation,” said Brown.

The Air Force’s investigation work and mitigation actions are guided by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, applicable state laws, and the EPA’s drinking water health advisory. The Air Force is moving forward aggressively in accordance with the CERCLA process to identify, define and mitigate potential contamination resulting from Air Force mission activities.

“Following the CERCLA process makes certain thorough investigative work is done,” said Teff. “The process also promotes accountability, community involvement, and long-term protection.”

The Air Force has replaced legacy firefighting foam at Battle Creek Air National Guard Base with a new, more environmentally responsible formula that contain no PFOS and only trace amounts of PFOA. Currently, fire protection services at W.K. Kellogg Airport are managed by the City of Battle Creek.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Coordination saved lives in Joint Training

Homestead Miami Speedway hosts Joint Training Exercise
U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of the 468th Engineer Detachment (Firefighting), 368th Engineer Battalion, 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 412th Theater Engineer Command based in Danvers, Mass., respond to a multi-vehicle accident during a Joint Training Exercise hosted by the Homestead-Miami Speedway and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department in Miami, Florida. Jan. 11, 2018. This JTE focused on building response capabilities and the seamless transition between the local first responders and the follow-on support provided by the National Guard and Active Army Soldiers. (U. S. Army Reserve Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood)
MIAMI, FL, UNITED STATES
04.12.2018
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood
412th Theater Engineer Command 

HOMESTEAD, Fla., -- Coordination between the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) and Active Army and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) teams, including the 468th Engineer Detachment (Firefighting Headquarters), saved lives in a simulated biohazard explosion at the Homestead Speedway near here, Jan. 11, 2018.
The MDFR set up decontamination sites for itself and the Army units which allowed teams like the Detachment’s Urban Search and Rescue teams to respond to the scene even quicker.
“We can’t send rescuers into the hot-zone until that is set up so instead of having to wait until our own decontamination team set up their equipment we were able to push Soldiers out much faster,” noted Capt. Samuel Turner, commander of the detachment from Danvers, Massachusetts. “This type of coordination is the cornerstone of mutual aid. Anything we can do to support and facilitate each other ultimately supports the saving of lives.”
The Joint Training Exercise (JTE) between U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Army North, USARC, Florida National Guard and the MDFR focused on building response capabilities and the seamless transition between the local first responders and the follow-on support provided by the National Guard and Active Army Soldiers.
The Detachment of the 368th Engineer Battalion, 302d Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and 412th Theater Engineer Command also was being evaluated by U.S. Army North Observer/Controller Trainers (OC/Ts).
Detachment safety noncommissioned officer, Sgt. Jason A. Benjamin, Sr., said the OC/Ts ensured that the 40-member plus Detachment, which has five firefighter teams, trained to standard and made on the spot corrections. This was a Quarterly Sustainment Training for the Detachment.
The Miami Dade Fire Rescue was the first to respond to the biohazard explosion in the scenario. Several sections of the bleachers were “destroyed”, there was a multi-vehicle accident near the bleachers. The latter meant that the Detachment had to wear the hazardous material protective suits and protective masks during the exercise.
“When they realized the extent of the scene, they reached out to the known Army units in the area doing training,” said Benjamin.
A Detachment reconnaissance element with several medics was the first on scene. They were greeted by role players, some bloodied, shouting that they were in pain. The element’s mission was to assess hazards and triage “victims.”
The team that relieved the reconnaissance team concentrated on the multi-vehicle accident. One car was upside down up against the end of the bleachers, a SUV was on its side next to it and a minivan was also on its side with its roof touching the rear wheel of the SUV.
Sgt. Ian Tweeddale of Everett, Mass., was the crew chief for this team (the 356th).
He said his first goal was to stabilize vehicles and ensure it was a safe working environment after learning that there were three victims in the accident.
“Then our plan of attack went from there,” said Tweeddale.
The three other teams responded to “victims” still in the bleachers and trapped in the “collapsed” bleachers.
Turner noted that all of the teams worked in the site several times throughout the day.
“Each taking over from the last in order to maintain proper rest cycles and keep our Soldiers in the fight,” said the police officer from Portland, Maine. “Keeping Soldiers in the fight,” comes down to the medics monitoring each Soldier before they enter and leave the “hot zone.”
The rest cycles are also based on wet bulb readings. Turner said in southern Florida, a 20/40 (minute) rest cycle is not uncommon. Another consideration is that the suits that only weigh about 10 pounds do not breathe well.
“(The medics) are able to identify Soldiers who may need a little more rehab or if teams as a whole require a change in the work schedule,” explained Turner.
There also were changes in the exercises like this.
Tweeddale, who has been in America’s Army Reserve for eight years and a firefighter for the last two years, remarked that he has seen several different scenarios in the training and this has helped him exercise his brain.
“It takes a lot of teamwork to get through these scenarios because they are always different,” commented the former combat engineer.
He may have summed up the exercise in the best way possible.
“We get to be the good guy on someone’s bad day so that is a lot of fun.”