Health & Safety

May 4, 2012

Preparing for operational readiness

Robert Kaschak
452 Emergency Management Technician

As the wing prepares for its upcoming operational readiness exercise and inspection, it is important to note how little things can become significant in a wartime environment. One of the lessons learned by team March from the recent Volk Field exercise was to stress continued use of the “buddy system,” particularly when wearing the Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear. During wartime operations, critical events multiply rapidly, creating physical and emotional stresses that sometimes affect good decision-making. In the heat of the moment, a snap decision can be made that may or may not be the best solution for the event taking place.

To minimize mistakes and maximize safety, always remember to work with your wingman. NEVER go anywhere alone or allow your wingman to do the same.

The formula for success is simple; a team effort at all levels, working as multiple wings, joint commands, inter-service areas and partners with no direct affiliation. It is paramount to ensure we follow this basic rule.

In the long-run, we aim to enhance safety and facilitate our recovery process while meeting the mission requirements.

In addition to the buddy system implementation, knowing the proper attire for MOPP wear is vital to mission success. The MOPP process is a systematic method of wearing protective equipment in a threat environment. The Visual Aid (AFVA10-2512, 15 Aug 11) is available and posted in all work areas. In a wartime environment, it should take six minutes to go from MOPP 0 to MOPP 2 and another 2 minutes to go from MOPP 2 to MOPP 4, for a total of 8 minutes. In order to successfully execute this process, practice is required. Gear should be fitted and checked prior to deployment. It is imperative that you understand the differences among the various MOPP levels.

The VA explicitly points out the configurations throughout all six levels. To reiterate, wingman concept promotes the successful and rapid donning of the gear as well as ensuring each airman is safe. Take the time to help your buddy and have your buddy check you.

Merging MOPP level knowledge with the Wingman Theory are basic tools necessary in the airman’s arsenal to survive. As we continue to practice and train, keeping these principles in mind, allow us to hone our skills and perform our jobs with the highest degree of confidence with a minimum amount of disruption. If you have questions, please call the emergency management office at 951-655-3024.

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U.S. Air Force photos by Darnell Gardner

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