Seismic activity is no stranger to California, as we were reminded again, March 11, with two mid-morning tremors, initially measuring 5.1 magnitudes, in the Anza and La Quinta areas. Although they were adjusted downward later in the day, the reminder of our vulnerability to such an event is always apparent.
March Air Reserve Base is home to almost 8,500 personnel with a myriad of missions that combine to make this a dynamic hub. A disastrous event occurring on the installation would have major ramifications depending on the timing of the incident. First responders would be quickly overwhelmed as they attempt to recover operations on the installation. Help from local responders may take several days or longer, depending on the damage to the local area.
National recovery participation will be phased in throughout the recovery stages; however, it may take several days, depending on the severity of the event. In essence, March ARB will be on its own for the initial part of the recovery process.
As part of a concerted effort to minimize the backlash, Emergency Management has initiated a plan to form an Emergency Services Support Team, referred to as ESST, to assist the base’s first responders during this type of event. This concept is similar to the civilian sector, which has the Civilian Emergency Response Team, or CERT.
Currently, we have a handful of volunteers, but not enough should an event occur during peak hours of the duty day. We are asking for anyone who is willing to assist our responders during this crucial time, to please contact EM and become part of the March ESST team.
Quarterly meeting and training will be conducted for volunteers, after which, a verification process will be conducted for all who participate, to ensure they know what is expected and how the response process works. The ESST team will be looking for personnel who work on the base and are physically able and competent to assist without causing injury to themselves or the people they will be assisting.
Having too many volunteers is not an issue, because volunteer availability will differ depending on work schedules and the availability of base personnel. There are no specialized skills or computer-based tests to complete and no recurring requirements other than caring for your fellow wingman and the installation we proudly call March ARB.
Your support and commitment are what makes this installation special and viable. Please consider becoming a part of the recovery process and helping your first responders and fellow Airman. Let’s work together to provide the synergy necessary to save lives and protect vital assets during base recovery operations. If you interested in being a volunteer, contact the EM office at 951-655-3024 or email Bob Kaschak at Robert.Kaschak@us.af.mil.