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Major Accident Response Exercise Educates Fairchild AFB Airmen, Community
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ryan Lackey
August 5, 2019

Team Fairchild Airmen and 18 local and other government agencies responded to a Major Accident Response Exercise in preparation for the base’s Inland Northwest SkyFest Open House.

The MARE is a “worst case scenario” simulation of several incidents that prompt Airmen and civilian partner agencies to react and gain control of situations in the event something happens during the show.

“I think this exercise will take us to a point where we are as prepared as we can be,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Clayton Simon, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Inspector General exercise planner. “There’s no way you can be fully equipped for an unfortunate event like this because you don’t know what’s going to happen, but I would say that we’re well-prepared.”

To ensure the exercise was as realistic as possible, Simon went to key people from units on base and to off-base agencies for guidance to best educate and train Airmen and employees in case of an unfortunate accident.

Firefighters from the Airway Heights Fire Department wrestle a hose while approaching a helicopter crash trainer during a Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE) drill near Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington on May 9, 2019. In the event of an off-base military incident, first-responder jurisdiction falls on the community that it occurs in. Team Fairchild maintains partnership agreements with local Senior Airman Ryan Lackeyities to help manage any off-base incidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)
Firefighters from the Airway Heights Fire Department wrestle a hose while approaching a helicopter crash trainer during a Major Accident Response Exercise (MARE) drill near Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington on May 9, 2019. In the event of an off-base military incident, first-responder jurisdiction falls on the community that it occurs in. Team Fairchild maintains partnership agreements with local Senior Airman Ryan Lackeyities to help manage any off-base incidents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Lackey)

“If the accident is so large that we cannot handle it ourselves, we would call for mutual assistance,” said Kimo Kuheana, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron fire chief. “It’s important to have off-base agencies participate in case a plane goes down off-base, so that our mutual partners know what to do.”

The MARE taught Team Fairchild several lessons that allowed Airmen and agencies to build and strengthen their skills in gaining control of an aircraft crash situation.

“This exercise challenged us because we usually do one mock crash or one mock mass casualty during trainings like these,” Kuheana said. “This time, we had three separate incidents, with one off-base, so it really incorporated a lot of different things and taught us what we really needed to work on.”

Team Fairchild exercise planners decided to expand the size and scope of the exercise to allow Airmen to become more familiar with various crash types and the actions necessary to best respond, ensure public and base safety and further develop Airmen readiness in the face of any situation.

A Fairchild medical response team carries a fellow airman role-playing as an injured bystander during the Major Action Response Exercise (MARE) at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington on May 9, 2019. The MARE included several simulated aircraft crashes, mock casualties and three fires to equip Team Fairchild for the upcoming Inland Northwest SkyFest Open House. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)
A Fairchild medical response team carries a fellow airman role-playing as an injured bystander during the Major Action Response Exercise (MARE) at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington on May 9, 2019. The MARE included several simulated aircraft crashes, mock casualties and three fires to equip Team Fairchild for the upcoming Inland Northwest SkyFest Open House. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Kiaundra Miller)

“This exercise is significantly larger than other exercises,” Simon said. “We want to make sure that if something unfortunate does happen, we’re ready.”

MARE exercises pushed Airmen and allowed them to see what improvements needed to be made in -order to further control the response to a crash, if one were to happen.

“Everything was prepped right; it was a really challenging exercise,” Kuheana said. “At the end of the day, it is a good exercise because now we’re finding out what we need to do; that’s the reason why we do them.”

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