Air Festival EME puts Misawa to the test
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- A bilateral Emergency Management Exercise took place at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Sept. 2, 2015.
The EME assessed the U.S. Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force's ability to respond to an emergency situation. The annual exercise was conducted prior to Misawa AB's Air Festival in mid-September as a way to ensure full preparedness in case of an emergency.
As an attraction that brings thousands of Japanese nationals to Misawa AB to witness aircraft static displays and flight performances, the Air Festival provides a real-life potential for a crash or malfunction.
"We have EMEs several times a year for various reasons," said Master Sgt. Joe Ballard, 35th Fighter Wing inspector general wing inspections planner. "It essentially gives everyone the chance to dust off skills and equipment for the unlikely event something bad happens."
The simulated aircraft crash involved more than 40 role players, some painted with "wounds" while others acted distressed, dazed and confused.
The "victims" were encouraged to act dramatically to enhance the sense of realism during the exercise, simulated injuries ranged from minor burns and skin lacerations to broken bones and intestinal trauma.
"The exercise portrayed a low flying aircraft crashing, which has the potential to be a real event," said Lt. Col. Kevin Lord, 35 FW inspector general. "We set up the scenario to reflect situations we respond to."
In emergency situations base medical responders and other support personnel are mobilized rapidly to provide as much medical care to the injured as possible before being transported to the hospital.
Participating in the EME were members from the 35th Security Forces Squadron who were dispatched to establish a security perimeter of the area and keep personnel under control during a real life event.
Airmen from the 35 FW and members from the JASDF medical response teams work together for exercises like these annually, demonstrating theater interoperability - one of Pacific Air Force's strategic goals.
"The JASDF plays an important joint roll in this and their first responders also work side by side with U.S. forces on the base," Ballard said. "Working together makes for a great learning experience for everyone."
After the exercise concludes, it's back to the drawing board for the inspector general team.
"While we are watching these various agencies work together, we are formulating how to improve upon things for the next exercise," Lord said.