Kunsan fire department joins Gunsan City in local exercise
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department participated in an off-base mass casualty exercise hosted by the Gunsan City Fire Department in Gunsan City, Nov. 5, 2014.
According to Gunsan City fire department officials, the annual emergency exercise is used to establish an incident command system and to enhance the capabilities of responders to react to emergencies such as large disasters.
"November is Fire Safety and Prevention month for South Korea," said Master Sgt. Hungpyo Rucci, 8 CES fire emergency services assistant chief of operations. "In honor of the month, Gunsan City Fire Department sent a special invitation to the 8th Mission Support Group commander [Col. Dennis "Falcon" Curran] and our fire chief [Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Vickers] to attend."
The Wolf Pack sent five firefighters, along with two firefighting vehicles, to support the training.
According to Jeon Buk Province Governor Song, Ha-Jin, the intent of this exercise was to determine how multiple agencies would react together to mitigate a simulated terrorist attack.
"We haven't yet had an opportunity to execute this kind of exercise, but for today, conducting this combined exercise with the U.S. Air Force firefighters has given us much support," said Kim Young-Sam, Gunsan City Fire Department chief. "With the assistance of the U.S. Air Force and their state-of-the-art equipment, we are able to extinguish fires quickly and actively cope with any other disaster that may happen. I am very thankful for all the support they lend to us."
The joint training had the same benefit for Kunsan AB and the other organizations involved.
According to Tech. Sgt. Roger Kemp, 8 CES fire emergency services A-Shift assistant chief of operations, there are multiple benefits to joint training with Gunsan City emergency services. By exercising together, we strengthen the coalition for future mutual-aid operations and learn the other organizations capabilities, resulting in us building trust for one another, he added.
The exercise involved over 26 agencies to include five hundred emergency responders and 39 specialized vehicles, said Song.
"This exercise wasn't just for the fire department," said Kemp. "It was an incident that involved everyone in the public services to include the police, medical, logistics and of course, firefighters. This gave us all a big picture concept and overview of a very feasible incident that could happen here."
This is the first time Kunsan AB members have participated in this combined event.
"We usually host different fire exercises involving the ROK Air Force, but this is the first time we have been invited to this specific event off base," said Kemp. "This was a great training opportunity for us because we got to see how both parties operate differently and together. The Korean forces did everything by the book, so it was great seeing how everything fit together."
Kunsan AB currently has a mutual aid agreement with not just Gunsan City, but the entire province, said Kemp. Each party agrees to aid in whatever way is practical if the other party has need.
"Receiving this invite has definitely strengthened the bond with our allies and I would be honored to take part in it again," added Kemp.