Yokota CBRN training adapts to pandemic constraints

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Thomas Smith
  • AFN Tokyo

Members of the 374th Civil Engineering Squadron Emergency Management team have found a way to continue the mission while limiting the risk of COVID-19 transmission by moving Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear training to the great outdoors, July 22, 2020, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

“The information that we’re teaching isn’t any different, but the environment is,” said Airman 1st Class Samuel Baker, EM technician and CBRN class instructor. “I actually prefer this environment because it allows the class to get to the root of what’s important without the dreaded ‘death by PowerPoint’.”

The students maintained social distancing and were taught basic threat knowledge, familiarization with protective equipment and actions to survive in a CBRN environment.

The training included practical application portions where the students were required to don their mission oriented protective posture gear within a time limit to simulate CBRN attack response. Temperatures reached up to 80 degrees with a humidity of 86 percent during the MOPP gear portion of training.

“I think that even with the social distancing we were able to get a very useful training,” said Tech. Sgt. Sungka Vongkhamchanh, 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of equipment support and a participant in the class. “The only downside was the summer heat, but a real-world scenario very well could be outside in the summer so in a way it added to the realism of the training.”

Throughout the class, the instructor team emphasized the importance of maintaining these emergency preparedness skills for real-world response.

“Our enemies are always training and making technological advancements,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew Taylor, EM technician and senior instructor. “It’s vital we don’t allow ourselves to become complacent.”

Despite the limitations brought on by COVID-19, EM specialists of the 374th CES continue to adapt and ensure members of Team Yokota are trained to accomplish the mission, no matter the threat.