Coordination with community partners leaves Buckley better prepared

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Luke W. Nowakowski
  • 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
Buckley Air Force Base worked side-by-side with community and base partners during an annual major accident response exercise Sept. 10, 2015, at Front Range Airport, Colo.

The exercise involved a simulated aircraft crash that included multiple casualties and property damage. The conditions created by the simulated crash sparked coordination between Buckley personnel and community partners in order to respond to the incident accordingly.

"This challenging scenario today involved a simulated mid-air collision and crash responses in multiple locations internal and external to the Buckley AFB installation -- the first time we worked with multiple communities on an integrated response event," said Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander. 

The exercise involved Bennett Fire Department, Adams County Sheriff's Department, Strasburg Fire Department, Cunningham Fire Protection District, Sable Altura Fire Department, Front Range Airport, 460th Space Wing and 140th Wing.

"While we talk about coordination and integration in emergency response, this was the first time we've ever tested our teams on it with our surrounding communities," Wagner said. "This training event today integrated our teams and maximized our collective preparedness to rapidly respond to future emergencies and will very likely save lives by working better together. While we'll take back numerous lessons on how to improve, I'm very pleased with the work and coordination I saw today."

The exercise gave Buckley AFB and community partners an idea of what to expect when arriving on the scene of an aircraft accident.

"These types of exercises sharpen our emergency responder's ability to interact with our off-base mutual support partners during those times when Department of Defense assets become involved in an accident," said Eric Mueller, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency manager. "These exercises ensure that the first time Buckley AFB emergency responders and their off-base counterparts meet is not during a real-world incident."

Buckley AFB leadership and those involved in the exercise were pleased with the results and found the exercise beneficial.

"While we hope future mishaps will not occur, we are now better trained to respond to them as a coordinated team if, and when, they do," said Wagner.