May 17, 2012

Station ARFF trains in setting up decontamination site

Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison
Desert Warrior Staff
Photo by Lance Cpl. Sean Dennison
MCAS Yuma aircraft rescue and firefighting department firefighting specialists Lance Cpl. Dakota Richardson, left, a native of Newark, Penn., and Pfc. Timothy Simon, a native of a Vacaville, Calif., practice setting up and using a decontamination site during their annual training on the station flightline, May 10.

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma aircraft rescue and firefighting department trained in setting up a mass decontamination site, May 10-11.

The training, part of ARFF personnel’s annual training requirements, educated the firefighters on quickly and effectively constructing a decontamination site, which would aid in the event of a biological disaster or attack.

Representatives from Pennsylvania-based Buck’s County Community College, who train Corps’ firefighters, monitored the classes.

Staying up on their training, Marines and civilians learned the implications of hazardous material, how to dispose of it and react to it. They later applied the knowledge and constructed a site where they could treat people affected by contamination.

“It’s refresher training and to help us brush up on skills for the classes,” said Douglas Sanchez, an ARFF emergency medical technician.

In the event of contamination, ARFF personnel must assess who needs ambulatory assistance and who doesn’t, creating the need for both improvisation and resourcefulness on the part of the responders.

“It can range anywhere from 15 to hundreds of people,” said Danielle Stebner, one of the evaluators from Buck’s County.

Like any annual training, the course ensured ARFF personnel are properly prepared for any incidents that come their way.

“They know how to properly set up a decontamination zone,” said Stebner. “Moreover, there’s a precedent they have to have proper training and resources to complete the tasks they need to do.”

ARFF deals with accident reaction. The whole flightline and base is their domain should anything go wrong.

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