Prefectural Preparedness off base Aircraft Mishap Drill

Prefectural Preparedness off base Aircraft Mishap Drill

by MC2 Michael Doan
NAF Atsugi PAO

Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi participated in an aircraft mishap drill with emergency services from Kanagawa Prefecture at the Kanagawa Prefectural Disaster Prevention Center in Hiratsuka, Oct. 16.

The drill consisted of multiple hands-on exercises involving procedures to respond to and contain an aircraft mishap off base and the rescuing of injured personnel.

“The purpose of the drill was to carry out prompt and precise initial response measures in coordination with related Japanese and U.S. organizations,” said Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) Jack Scott, NAF Atsugi Salvage Officer. “It was to mutually confirm and deepen the understanding of procedures for communication and access control.”

After the first responders came onto the scene and were able to assess the damage, each of the agencies to respond set up command tents to coordinate their efforts to control the scene with other responders.

“The communication aspect of the drill was probably the most important,” said Scott. “Understanding the flow of information between all of the different organizations and ensuring that we can do it effectively in a real-time situation will cement our abilities to respond to any incident like this.”

Local emergency agencies responded first to the drill site to simulate the travel time of NAF Atsugi’s responders. Upon the arrival of Commander Navy Region Japan (CNRJ) Fire and Emergency Services, they provided assistance fighting the aircraft fires.

“This assistance ensures that during the mitigation process, all known hazards associated with fighting an aircraft fire are known and a joint extinguishment and rescue procedure is followed and executed as planned,” said Randall J. Lowry, CNRJ Fire and Emergency Services assistant chief of training. “Aircraft fires are vastly different from fighting structural or building fires and here at NAF Atsugi it is one of our primary missions.”

Though the chance of a crash is rare, training like this provides NAF Atsugi personnel and local community responders the opportunity to coordinate their response plans and effectively prepare.

“The cooperation was outstanding, and I was extremely impressed with the ability and professionalism of our host nation first responders,” said Scott. “They put on a great exhibition of their abilities and showed a deep commitment to the joint response with the U.S. officials.”

Near the end of the drill, all of those involved formed up and were given a message of thanks from NAF Atsugi Command Officer Capt. Lloyd B. Mack.

“Thank you to our partners in the Kanagawa Prefectural Police and our local Japanese first responders,” said Mack. “Thank you for helping us prepare for a day we all remain to committed to avoiding, but for which we must remain prepared.”

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