Medical group Airmen train for hazard response

  • Published
  • By Airman James Salellas
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 17th Medical Group at Goodfellow Air Force Base participated in an exercise where they had to protect medical assets from being compromised by hazardous substances, Feb. 8. Decontamination Education and Consulting on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical training courses provide safety measurements for control and containment if a hazardous substance or material is released. DECON training aims to inform first responders and hospital staff members, who would be the first to respond or provide care, and what steps need to be taken to ensure safety. 

“Treatment cannot be provided if that treatment gets compromised by a hazardous substance that enters the hospital from a patient,” said TJ Bocek, master instructor at DECON, LLC. “The idea is you have a specialized team that puts together specialized equipment. They're trained on protective equipment that can remove the hazardous substance from those patients.” 

Participating members went through practical exercises to help prepare for this possibility, such as setting up a decontamination tent in less than 15 minutes.  

DECON training aims to test the ability of the patient decontamination team members to set up two zones: warm and contaminated, or cold and uncontaminated. This ensures providers direct lifesaving treatment effectively and immediately.  

“It's always important to be prepared just in case this scenario becomes a real-life situation,” said Airman 1st Class Zachary Clanton, 17th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron dental technician. “Knowing how to set up properly and taking the proper precautions in case we ever have a chemical disaster on base.” 

Staying ready with DECON training creates operational readiness within our armed forces; adding a new skill set creates versatile personnel who are prepared for future challenges that may come their way.