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Fairchild, Spokane regional emergency responders work together

Staff Sgt. Micah Franklin, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bio-environmental Engineering craftsman, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee on how Team Fairchild hazardous material response teams could deploy a  Radeco high volume air sampler at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Emergency response Airmen function much like their civilian counterparts, but are more specialized to handle the specific challenges an air base may face.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Staff Sgt. Micah Franklin, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bio-environmental Engineering craftsman, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee on how Team Fairchild hazardous material response teams could deploy a Radeco high volume air sampler at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Emergency response Airmen function much like their civilian counterparts, but are more specialized to handle the specific challenges an air base may face. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Staff Sgt. Marc Cooperman, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee on the capabilities of their equipment at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. While law enforcement is not part of the LEPC, the potential of an explosive material incident remains a contingency that the committee plans for and Team Fairchild Airmen are prepared to respond to. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Staff Sgt. Marc Cooperman, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Explosive Ordinance Disposal technician, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee on the capabilities of their equipment at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. While law enforcement is not part of the LEPC, the potential of an explosive material incident remains a contingency that the committee plans for and Team Fairchild Airmen are prepared to respond to. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Tech. Sgt. Alfred Esposito, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management craftsman, discusses specialized, networked detectors and tools Team Fairchild emergency responders could use in the event of a hazardous material incident during a demonstration for members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Federal and state agencies, by law, require specialized "mutual aid agreements" to outline the situations in which both federal and state agencies may assist one another during an emergency situation. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Tech. Sgt. Alfred Esposito, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management craftsman, discusses specialized, networked detectors and tools Team Fairchild emergency responders could use in the event of a hazardous material incident during a demonstration for members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Federal and state agencies, by law, require specialized "mutual aid agreements" to outline the situations in which both federal and state agencies may assist one another during an emergency situation. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

A dummy aircraft burns in the 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department training area during a demonstration for members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Team Fairchild firefighters use a dummy and simulate flames with safe propane gas to minimize environmental impact while maintaining readiness training efforts. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

A dummy aircraft burns in the 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department training area during a demonstration for members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Team Fairchild firefighters use a dummy and simulate flames with safe propane gas to minimize environmental impact while maintaining readiness training efforts. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

92nd Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters drive into a training area during demonstration of the bases emergency response capabilities to members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. The LEPC meets at different locations monthly to help survey local disaster response capabilities and Team Fairchild volunteered to host during the month of November as a way to demonstrate the specialized resources the base can offer to the local community. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

92nd Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters drive into a training area during demonstration of the bases emergency response capabilities to members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. The LEPC meets at different locations monthly to help survey local disaster response capabilities and Team Fairchild volunteered to host during the month of November as a way to demonstrate the specialized resources the base can offer to the local community. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

92nd Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters display the base's aircraft fire response capabilities to members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Team Fairchild firefighters are specifically trained to protect aircraft, military resources and Airmen to help maintain base operational readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

92nd Civil Engineering Squadron firefighters display the base's aircraft fire response capabilities to members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. Team Fairchild firefighters are specifically trained to protect aircraft, military resources and Airmen to help maintain base operational readiness. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Kimo Kuheana, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department chief, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee during a demonstration of the bases emergency response capabilities at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. The LEPC is a group of local representatives from government, industry, environmental groups and more that work to plan ahead for possible disaster responses. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

Kimo Kuheana, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department chief, briefs members of the Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee during a demonstration of the bases emergency response capabilities at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, Nov. 7, 2018. The LEPC is a group of local representatives from government, industry, environmental groups and more that work to plan ahead for possible disaster responses. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Representatives of multiple emergency response services from Spokane and nearby areas met with their Team Fairchild counterparts here for a local emergency planning meeting Nov. 7, 2018.

The Spokane Local Emergency Planning Committee is a gathering of specialists from government agencies, local industries, environmental groups and others that work together in forming plans and policies that aim to protect communities and the environment from the effects of hazardous incidents.

“We decided to host the meeting at Fairchild to show what we offer for disaster response,” said Maj. Tiffany Helene, 92nd Medical Group Bioenvironmental Squadron commander. “We’ve been a part of the LEPC for years now, working as back-up for local communities.”

The LEPC rotates their monthly meeting locations and Team Fairchild took the opportunity to host the meeting here to showcase the base’s Emergency Operations Center and demonstrate the specialized equipment used to respond to hazardous incidents.

“Emergency responders, both civilian and Airmen, are similar in their duties,” said Master Sgt. Andres Steevens, 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department assistant fire chief. “However, we’re manned and equipped to handle a single base, whereas they have more manpower and equipment as they must handle a much larger area than we do.”

Fairchild Air Force Base is the largest air refueling site in the world and it’s focused on supporting aircraft, military resources and Airmen. However, the unique equipment and specializations the base supports can prove useful or even vital beyond the base in some instances, Helene said.

In years past, Fairchild firefighters have supported local efforts to suppress yearly wildfires across the region and also responded to a dangerous chlorine gas leak at Pacific Steel in August of 2015, which was contained by a joint response of Airmen and local HAZMAT teams.

“It’s good to have these LEPC meetings,” Steevens said. “From experience, working with our civilian counterparts only helps bolster that confidence and support the base uniquely shares with Spokane and its residents.”

Team Fairchild enjoys supporting the community, the base cannot always go it alone when a serious situation occurs on base. When the base needs additional assistance during certain emergencies, they reach out to the local community for back-up, a two-way street of support.

“It’s rare for a base to have such an open agreement of support with a local community,” Helene said. “It’s truly exciting to have that bond here and to meet and engage with our civilian counterparts. We hope to continue engaging with them and perpetuate our mutual agreements of support.”

Team Fairchild and the LEPC are persistently planning ahead for the next potential emergency, not a question of if, but of when and being ready for it. Local partnerships enhance the Air Force’s ability to complete the mission and to fly, fight and win both at home and around the globe. Just one more example of Ready Airmen … and Civilians … Now.