Emergency first response exercised at Fuji
Camp Fuji, Japan -- arines and sailors are the backbone of the Marine air-ground task force. In order to ensure the MAGTF is successful, Marines and sailors train in a variety of environments, each with its own risk involved. Despite efforts to mitigate those risks, Murphy’s law suggests that every now and again something can go wrong. When something does go wrong, first-responders must be prepared.
Marines, sailors and firefighters took part in an emergency protocol training exercise April 12 aboard Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan.
The installation conducts the exercises at CATC about every two months to ensure the readiness and capability of military personnel in the event that natural disasters or other unforeseeable events take place on or within the immediate area of operation.
For this training evolution, the Marines, sailors and firefighters specifically tailored training for quick and safe emergency response in the event of an incident on or near Camp Fuji, according to Staff Sgt. Dennis P. Conforti, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of camp auxiliary security forces for CATC Camp Fuji.
“This training is important for (CATC) because we need to be prepared to save lives in the event of a catastrophe,” said Conforti. “The closest military base to us is about two hours away, so we have to be the first to respond and not rely on or expect immediate, outside support,” he added.
The training required good coordination and proper communication from the CATC Headquarters Company, CASF, explosive ordnance disposal, branch health clinic and the fire department.
Duties were well delegated by the company commander, which allowed the exercise to go smoothly, according to Conforti.
“The training is very significant for the sailors who work in the branch health clinic,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Elton Reece, an independent duty corpsman with Headquarters Company, CATC. “This training gave the BHC sailors an experience they might not otherwise get at a larger installation because it isn’t in their job description and because Camp Fuji is such a small base, everyone needs to be able to help and know how to help.”
The exercise was a success for the fire department because it created an opportunity to hone the firefighters’ individual skills, and it familiarized them with an extraordinarily difficult situation, according Shinji Ozawa, a firefighter for Marine Corps Installations Pacific Fire and Emergency Services, CATC Camp Fuji.
There are a limited number of firefighters available for immediate response to such a large-scale incident for which the training is conducted, so it is vital that everyone works together and performs his or her duty appropriately, according to Ozawa.
“Hopefully our Marines and sailors will never have to deal with a real scenario like this, but I am glad we did the training for it because one of the best things we can do as Marines is train for the unknown,” said Conforti.