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Staying ready: 19th CES emergency management train Black Knights

A woman puts on a protective mask.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Candace Carrico, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, adjusts the straps on a protective mask while her colleagues put on their protective suits at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 12, 2019. Airmen in emergency management verify each unit is up-to-date on their emergency management training for crisis situations such as tornados or installation threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

People put on protective suits.

Airmen assigned to the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight put on protective suits in preparation for a sample testing during training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 12, 2019. The emergency management flight is comprised of three different sections: plans and operations, logistics and training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

A person extracts liquid from a jar.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Candace Carrico, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, takes a sample of an unknown substance for training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 12, 2019. Airmen in emergency management create and host in-house training once a month to maintain their combat edge by practicing and honing skills that make them more effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

Two people in protective suits seal a container.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kaila Koke, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman, seals a container with an unknown substance for training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 12, 2019. Airmen in emergency management create and host in-house training once a month to maintain their combat edge by practicing and honing skills that make them more effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

Exercising readiness for emergency situations so Airmen can stay prepared and learn their role when it comes to installation attacks or natural disasters is a high priority at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. The 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management flight verifies each unit’s accomplishments so the mission can continue safely, and effectively, regardless of the environment.

“The fact that we are the readiness flight and the commander’s top priority is readiness puts a spotlight on us,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Candace Carrico, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman. “We train everybody in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive defense to be ready at the drop of a [hat] in case of an emergency.”

Emergency management is comprised of three sections devoted to the safety and readiness of the Black Knights–plans and operations, logistics and training. Each plays an integral role in the overall goal for the 19th Airlift Wing of being a ready, resilient force.

Emergency management representatives are assigned to each unit and communicate with Airmen as part of plans and operations. These representatives track their individual unit’s inspections, checklist items and overall training. Plans and operations manages and validates all units for this information.

While plans and operations assist outside units, logistics maintain all emergency management in-house equipment. They ensure everything is calibrated and prepped in order to respond to a crisis.

Lastly, the training section focuses on the general training standard for every Airmen. They teach the CBRNE classes and create training for their own unit to be completed once a month.

Airmen in the emergency management flight train internally on numerous tasks from responding to emergency situations to knowing the breakdown of CBRNE substances.

“I love learning the science behind my job, Carrico said. “If I wasn’t in the military, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this, so being around this equipment and the procedures is really unique.”

Whether it’s a tornado or an installation threat, real-world emergencies don’t happen every day at Little Rock AFB. However, emergency management Airmen are always ready and maintain their combat edge by practicing and honing skills that make them more effective.

“During the Syria attacks last year, I realized we could be attacked with those kinds of weapons and that chemical warfare is real,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Sydney Eleuteri, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management journeyman. “Our job could be the difference between people surviving or not.”

From bolstering base-wide training to knowing the ins and outs of CBRNE weapons, emergency management is always there to make sure that Airmen are ready to react to scenarios that force them to find the best, most efficient way to deliver combat airlift even under austere conditions.

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