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Bioenvironmental Airmen ensure safe work conditions

Staff Sgt. Amber Metts, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental NCO in charge, checks the pH level in a water sample May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The purpose of the test is to make sure there are no harmful contaminants in the water. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

Staff Sgt. Amber Metts, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental NCO in charge, checks the pH level in a water sample May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The purpose of the test is to make sure there are no harmful contaminants in the water. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

Airman 1st Class Jajuan Erby, left, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, assists Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th AMDS technician, right, don a Level A biohazard May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Every tool in the bioenvironmental arsenal is strategically employed for the detection of various pollutants and radiation in the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Airman 1st Class Jajuan Erby, left, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, assists Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th AMDS technician, right, don a Level A biohazard May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Every tool in the bioenvironmental arsenal is strategically employed for the detection of various pollutants and radiation in the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, dons a Level A biohazard suit May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The suit protects individuals from contaminants such as harmful chemicals and radiation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, dons a Level A biohazard suit May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The suit protects individuals from contaminants such as harmful chemicals and radiation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineers are scientists and chemists as well as microbiologists that specialize in identifying and evaluating potential health hazards in the workplace and surrounding areas. Tools they use are to survey ventilation systems for proper airflow, check water pH levels for contaminations and equip deploying service members with lifesaving gas masks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineers are scientists and chemists as well as microbiologists that specialize in identifying and evaluating potential health hazards in the workplace and surrounding areas. Tools they use are to survey ventilation systems for proper airflow, check water pH levels for contaminations and equip deploying service members with lifesaving gas masks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Sommer Giron)

Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, calibrates a device May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The equipment is calibrated by using radiation sources to detect contamination.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

Senior Airman Velentine Orta-Bartolon, 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental technician, calibrates a device May 18, 2017, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The equipment is calibrated by using radiation sources to detect contamination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

When illness prevention comes to mind, some people may imagine doctors working in a lab searching for cures to formidable diseases. However, the 19th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental Engineers are unsung scientists, chemists and microbiologists who specialize in identifying potential health hazards in the workplace and surrounding areas.

“Daily operations can vary from conducting radiation surveys, testing water and air samples, to responding to hazardous emergency,” said Senior Airman Ivan Monroy, 19th AMDS bioenvironmental engineer. “In an emergency response, we drop everything we’re doing and load up our vehicles to respond to the scene and complete the mission.”

Prevention is their focus and the partnerships they have with on and off base agencies are vital to the health of Team Little Rock. From the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Fire Department to local authorities and the FBI, the Airmen work to eliminate carcinogens and other harmful illnesses through identification, isolation and testing.

A huge part of their job is acquiring the knowledge needed, and forming an impenetrable bond to protect one another from harm since they often face dangerous situations.

“We are a family,” said Master Sgt. Peter Stein, 19th AMDS bioenvironmental flight chief. “When we are fully suited for a hazardous response, there’s only 45 minutes of air in the tanks; we need to watch out for one another incase an Airman runs out of air.”

Every tool in the bioenvironmental arsenal is strategically employed for the detection of various pollutants and radiation in the environment. Tools are used to survey ventilation systems for uncontaminated airflow, check water potential hydrogen levels for pollutants and equip deploying service members with lifesaving gas masks.

Their expertise ensures healthy working conditions so the environment is not adversely affected by harmful resources.

“One thing I stress to my Airmen is how important they are,” Stein said. “They may not be the doctor who is treating the cancer, but they are the technicians who are preventing the cancer from happening in the first place.”

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