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Gunfighters streamline emergency planning with Gowen Field

The 366th and 124th Fighter Wings walk through emergency checklists in a response exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Nov. 30, 2016. The two wings collaborated on updating and improving checklists, while training for a mass accident response. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Kevyn Stinett/Released)

The 366th and 124th Fighter Wings walk through emergency checklists in a response exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Nov. 30, 2016. The two wings collaborated on updating and improving checklists, while training for a mass accident response. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Kevyn Stinett/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Col. Jefferson O’Donnell, 366th Fighter Wing commander, welcomed Gowen Field leadership, Nov. 30, to prepare and train base agencies on how to respond to a large-scale emergency if it were to happen between the two bases.

The 366th and 124th FW came together for the first recorded table-top mass accident response exercise, reviewing emergency scenarios step-by-step over a working lunch.

“This is how we do business, this is part of flying operations so I’m excited about this type of exercise and other exercises we can do together to collaborate because we are not getting more resources,” said Col. Timothy Donnellan, 124th FW commander. “We are getting smaller, and yet our tasking is getting bigger, so how do we solve that.”

By collaborating, the bases can respond more efficiently to these emergency situations.

“We hope that there won’t be an accident or incident of this type, but we are responsible for how we react to it, so this collaboration is exactly what we have to do,” Donnellan said.

Led by the 366th FW Director of Inspections Maj. Jennifer Cannon and FW Exercise Planner, Master Sgt. James Mulhall, the event included an academic portion where incident response methods were reviewed and discussed for improvements.

Cannon explained this exercise is required to prepare the bases for potential air shows or any aircraft mishaps in the future. The emergency checklists and contact methods were reviewed for updates and improvement.

“There’s always things that we can learn, and that we can understand more, not having done this before in a joint fashion, we certainly find that there’s elements we need to improve in our communication,” said Lt. Col. Michael Knowles, the 124th FW Director of Inspections. “A big part of the objective is understanding what we’re capable of and what we can do to support each other and learning how each other operates.”

Approximately 20 agencies participated from both bases to include designated representatives for the fire department, safety, security forces and wing leadership.

“We have relationships and opportunities, whether they are formalized,” O’Donnell said. “Or whether they are just because we have a good relationship, we can go beyond obstacles.”

The scenario prompted agency leads to think through and address issues that could arise if a mass incident response required the support of both wings. Agencies also found updates to contact methods which would improve completing emergency checklists more efficiently.

“We all wear the same uniform, even though we have a wing that’s Guard and one that’s active duty, we are all really working for the same common purpose,” Knowles said.

“At the end of the day I think we all have a common goal, especially when we are talking about something like this, we all want to be a part of the solution,” O’Donnell said.

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