Local

September 20, 2013

Bioenvironmental: keeping people safe

Airmen 1st Class Dakari Holder and Ernest Funue, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental engineer technicians, use a hazardous material identification kit to test white powder found on a desk during a training session Sept. 5. When unknown substances are found, the bioenvironmental flight can take a portable reader with them to a site for an initial test of the substance.

 

An Airman begins to prepare an F-16 for a new paint job. Another works on maintaining the base radar. A spouse begins cooking a meal by bringing water to a boil, and a retiree sits in the clinic waiting to see the doctor.

All of these individuals have something in common: a helping unit on base.

“Our job is to make sure workers are safe,” said Master Sgt. Gabriel Canales, 56th AMDS BEE Flight NCO in-charge. “We anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control all hazards workers can be exposed to throughout the base.”

To accomplish this, the flight tries to identify dangers in areas such as environmental hazards, confined spaces, industrial hygiene, radiation environmental and emergency response. Some of these don’t just affect military members but everyone who comes on base.

“Some of the things we do are more visible than others,” said Tech. Sgt. Keith Sue, 56th AMDS environmental program NCO-in-charge. “The industrial hygiene portion controls and evaluates work centers around base. Then there’s the environmental hazard side where we deal with the drinking water quality for the base. We act like quality control for the 56th CES. They produce the water, they put it in the pipes and we make sure it’s drinkable. We also deal with any hazardous material or spills, and we have specialized equipment used to identify hazards.”

Using an isotropic electric field probe, Senior Airman Christopher Odom, 56th AMDS BEE technician, tests the electromagnetic frequency coming from the radar at the north end of the runway. The test helps determine the safe zone around equipment.

The flight’s equipment ensures hazards are identified and the proper protective equipment is worn. This plays a major role during emergency responses.

“The emergency response side of our job deals with incidents like the recent aircraft crash,” Canalas said. “We are out there and we recommend protective equipment to the on-scene commander. We make sure any hazards are identified. We also make sure workers are protected before they go to the crash.”

Another part of their job that affects many people on base is radiation environmental.

“Radiation environmental is similar to emergency response,” Canales said. “We have to go and monitor any radiation emitters on the base, like targeting pods or the radars for electromagnetic frequency, which can be harmful. RE also certifies lasers and all the dental or medical X-rays. We monitor X-rays to make sure there are no overexposures and the workers are doing their daily checks to make sure they’re safe.”

Radiation environmental is not just concerned with the proper use of the equipment but the safety of the people who are around it but don’t know of the dangers.

Prior to donning a radiation suit, Airman 1st Class Ernest Funue, 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental engineer technician, adjusts the straps on an oxygen mask to achieve a good seal. The suit is completely sealed requiring the use of portable oxygen.

“When we get involved with radiology, one thing we do is survey the spaces created in which to do X-rays,” Sue said. “We survey the room and surrounding areas to ensure the X-rays are being shielded. The shields are also needed to protect people walking outside the room so they aren’t accidently exposed to stray X-rays.

“That’s one of our concerns when we look at anything radiological — public exposure and keeping that as low as possible so we don’t have to worry about people getting sick 50 years down the road.”

Because some hazards don’t affect people immediately, the bio flight is required to keep records in a Defense Department database. The system tracks military members and what they could have been exposed to for up to 75 years.

“The tracking was born out of events like Agent Orange during the Vietnam War or the Gulf War syndrome,” Sue said. “These were caused by people being exposed to hazards and there was no one keeping records or tracking the hazards.”

The main concern for the bio flight is that people are safe.

“When all is said and done,” Canales said, “we want people to be able to perform their job and be safe while doing it.”
 

Staff Sgt. Emil Lee, 56th AMDS BEE technician, secures a hose and air filter to an Airman from the paint barn. The air filter will tell if the ventilation system within the painting room is working properly.

 
 

Staff Sgt. Michael Rivera, 56th AMDS BEE technician, tests an air sample for contaminants during training. Air samples are gathered in special bags and brought in for testing or can be tested at the site with a mobile tester.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-Standalone---140411-F-HT977-026

Weather: Exercise component

First responders prepare to transport a simulated injured patient during an extreme weather exercise April 11 at Luke Air Force Base. The exercise was designed to train and evaluate Luke Airmen on readiness and preparation for ...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Plane crash, coma doesn’t deter pilot

Courtesy photo Retired Capt. David Berling, 56th Contracting Squadron contract specialist, stands in front of his 1977 Cessna RG March 23, 2012, at the Glendale Airport. Berling lost his legs in a 2007 plane crash, the subject ...
 
 

Comprehensive support system helps unit resiliency

In today’s Air Force environment of force restructure, budgetary constraints, continued mission requirements and resiliency, establishing a comprehensive support system in a unit is absolutely essential for success. Each organizational tier, whether at the element, flight or squadron level, must be resilient and have support mechanisms in place to not only meet, but exceed daily...
 

 

Preparing for next rank makes successful Airmen

As Airmen we have many responsibilities and duties we must carry out in accordance with our jobs. According to AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, our responsibilities are as follows: junior enlisted Airmen initially focus on adapting to military requirements, achieving occupational proficiency and learning how to become highly productive members of the Air Force....
 
 
Senior Airman
JASON COLBERT

Energy office helps keep lights on

Senior AirmanJASON COLBERT Master Sgt. Adam Kelley, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron base energy manager, explains the value of low wattage light bulbs to Robert Wimp at the Energy Conservation Month booth April 9 at Luke Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2014

Change of command Lt. Col. Jon Wheeler relinquishes command of the 310th Fighter Squadron to Lt. Col. Matthew Warner at 8:31 a.m. today in Hangar 913. Days of Remembrance The 2014 Days of Remembrance of the Holocaust Victims is May 2 at Club Five Six. A Holocaust exhibit of masks of holocaust survivors and paintings...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin