Major Accident Response Exercise: DM always prepared

Major Accident Response Exercises are held quarterly at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and incorporated into the 355th Wing’s readiness training.

These exercises are also scheduled before air shows and the annual Heritage Flight Training Course, so personnel are primed for any base emergency.

Airmen from the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Crash, Damaged or Disabled Aircraft Recovery team prepares an A-10 Thunderbolt II to be lifted during a full-scale Major Accident Response Exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2022. This team is specialized and highly trained to safely and rapidly respond using specialized equipment to remove aircraft. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Jacob Stephens)

“The importance of these exercises is that it gives the entities here on base the training to be able to respond when an accident actually happens,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Perez, 355th Wing Inspector General Office wing inspection team manager. “This ensures that firefighters, security forces members and other emergency responders are ready.”

The MARE not only tests emergency responders’ capabilities, but also allows Airmen to practice their search and recovery skills. The Airmen that conduct search and recovery are from the 355th Force Support Squadron. These skills entail walking a line to search a simulated aircraft crash area full of debris and personal effects in order to mark them with flags and information cards detailing the items found. Practicing this skill takes hours just to cover a few feet.

“My job is to monitor the team lead and make sure they are aware of the member’s physical and mental state while searching their respective areas,” said Master Sgt. Renae Perez, 355th FSS self-assessment program manager.” I can’t stress the importance of thoroughly searching an area. Some items are incredibly small and easy to miss, and these items might be all that’s left of a loved one.”

While one unit is responsible for taking care of personal effects, another unit, the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Crash, Damaged or Disabled Aircraft Recovery team, is charged with the recovery of crashed or damaged aircraft. This team is specialized and highly trained to safely and rapidly respond using specialized equipment to remove aircraft.

DM is constantly preparing for worst-case scenarios, allowing these agencies to be able to quickly respond and provide the utmost care during a base emergency.

Airmen from the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Crash, Damaged or Disabled Aircraft Recovery team uses specialized equipment during a full-scale Major Accident Response Exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2022. This team is charged with the recovery of crashed or damaged aircraft. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Jacob Stephens)
Airmen from the 355th Force Support Squadron walk a line to search a simulated aircraft crash area full of debris and personal effects during a full-scale Major Accident Response Exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2022. The MARE not only tests emergency responders’ capabilities, but also allows Airmen to practice their search and recovery skills. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)
Airmen from the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Crash, Damaged or Disabled Aircraft Recovery team prepares an A-10 Thunderbolt II to be lifted during a full-scale Major Accident Response Exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2022. This team is specialized and highly trained to safely and rapidly respond using specialized equipment to remove aircraft. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Jacob Stephens)
Airmen from the 355th Force Support Squadron line up for search and recovery equipment during a full-scale Major Accident Response Exercise at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2022. The MARE not only tests emergency responders’ capabilities, but also allows Airmen to practice their search and recovery skills. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Vaughn Weber)

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