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HAZMAT exercise slated for May 19

Tim Howells, 788th Civil Engineering Fire Department, passes a sandbag on as part of an assembly line helping to build a dam in Hebble Creek May 2, 2018, on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The project was part of a base exercise used to train personnel in emergency response. In this case, a simulated fuel spill. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez)

Tim Howells, 788th Civil Engineering Fire Department, passes a sandbag on as part of an assembly line helping to build a dam in Hebble Creek May 2, 2018, on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The project was part of a base exercise used to train personnel in emergency response. In this case, a simulated fuel spill. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Wright-Patterson Air Force Base will go into exercise mode again as it conducts a scheduled hazardous materials, or HAZMAT, release training event May 19.

During the exercise, the Installation Command Center will employ a variety of communication modes across Areas A and B on base to alert the base populace of the simulated event.

When the notification goes out, installation first responders will hurry to the staged HAZMAT release location. There they will assess the situation and employ the measures to safeguard life and mitigate the effects of such an event. As first responders do so, 88th Air Base Wing’s inspection team will evaluate their response on-scene as well as any potentially affected areas on Wright-Patt.

Following the base’s response efforts to the simulated hazardous material release, the exercise will transition into recovery mode.

“A HAZMAT exercise is an important tool to see how well all of our people respond,” David Filipkowski, 88 ABW exercise planner, said. “While it’s a given that first responders would be involved in such an event, others in proximity would be impacted and they would need to respond through measures such as evacuation from the area or by sheltering in-place.”

As an important reminder, since this is an exercise and training event, individuals on and around the base should not call 911.

Base officials said facility shelter locations confirmed in advance of the exercise and shelter-in-place procedures should be reviewed to ensure personnel know exactly where to go and what steps they should take. Knowing possible egress routes ahead of time is also advised if an evacuation is needed.

“Committing such things to memory saves valuable time when a real need to act arises during a hazardous materials release,” Filipkowski said.

Potential exercise effects could include:

- Gate traffic could be backed up or rerouted to other entry-control points if a gate is closed.
- Emergency-response vehicles moving around the base.
- Travel congestion.
- Temporary blockage of some roads.
- Increased security measures.
- “Giant Voice” activation.
- Use of telephone and electronic-notification methods.

Surrounding communities, which may hear the sirens or “Giant Voice,” are advised it is part of an on-base exercise, unless otherwise notified.