An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

386th ECES Fire Department completes HAZMAT certifications

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daira Jackson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

The 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, conducted a certification evaluation for hazardous materials incident commanders and technicians on base May 22, 2022.

The purpose of the certification is to enable a HAZMAT incident commander to run any type of hazardous materials incident, or an incident involving weapons of mass destruction. HAZMAT technicians are certified to go downrange to plug, patch or stop any breach of chemical hazards or any weapons of mass destruction and isolate the area.

“We certified a total of twenty personnel today: twelve personnel to the HAZMAT incident commander level and eight personnel to the HAZMAT technician level,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Brick, fire protection craftsman, 386th ECES Fire Department.

The hands-on portion of the certifications consisted of three simulated scenarios: stopping a one-ton container, typically used for storage, from leaking chlorine from its fusible plugs; the transportation of hazardous materials by rail; and bolting down an unstable cylinder, which contained nitrogen.

“The hands-on exercise was great,” said Senior Airman Craig Dennis, firefighter, 386th ECES Fire Department. “It mirrors pretty much exactly what we'll see in the field. Everybody works together and solves the issue.”

The 386th ECES Fire Department brought in members from outside of their unit, including public affairs, the commander from the 386th ECES and a few others to role play and interact with the HAZMAT incident commander. The idea was to create an experience just like what they would see in the real world.

“This is so they can get a feel for it,” said Brick. “If I was a HAZMAT IC and I’m working the scene, then all of a sudden I have the news media there. Then there’s the Civil Engineer Squadron commander there too. The ICs had to prioritize who they were going to talk to.”

Staff Sgt. Justin Chilcoat-Barron, a firefighter with the 386th ECES Fire Department played the role of an incident safety officer. His job was to brief the team before they went into a simulated dangerous environment.

“As firefighters and as incident safety officers, we have to keep in mind every situation. I reminded [the crew] of safety factors—things that can harm them, things to consider before going in—and to let us know if anything happens, so we can get them out immediately or adjust to keep their safety a priority,” said Chilcoat-Barron.

To successfully complete the exercise and earn the HAZMAT incident commander certification, personnel were evaluated on how well they performed incident analysis of the hazardous materials all the way through the termination of the incident or transfer of command to another crew.

Personnel completing the HAZMAT technician certification were evaluated on their communication; ability to test, inspect and wear their HAZMAT suits; set up and go through a decontamination line; plug or patch the breach, so that the emergency is resolved; and complete the exercise in a safe manner.

“I think I did really well—myself and my partner,” said Dennis. “We worked really well as a team. We got in there and got it done pretty quickly—faster than most teams—but we did it safely and correctly, which is the most important thing.”

Depending on the type of incident that may occur on base, the fire department may work with emergency management, bioenvironmental, security forces and explosive ordnance disposal.

“All of us come together and set up the unified command,” said Brick. “And that's what the ICs were doing today—setting up a unified command to work with other agencies as a whole—to safely complete the mission and make sure that the base is safe.”

Many of the fire department members are guardsmen and reservists. They help teach when personnel take Career Development Courses.

“We've got a very dynamic crew here,” said Brick. “When we were doing the hands-on portion of the CDCs, they were able to rely on previous experiences that they've had in their career to help the younger Airmen out. That helps everybody out too. So that's one of the greatest dynamics here. We were able to set everyone up for success today.”

The 386th ECES Fire Department consists of approximately 76 personnel, including active duty, reserve and guard members.

“The team is amazing,” said Dennis. “We all contribute a big part toward the safety of this base and personnel. No matter how small a job is, it contributes to the big picture, which completes the mission. I can't say enough good things about the people I work with.”