GREAT FALLS, Mont. --
The 120th Airlift Wing Readiness and Emergency Management Flight received training on a new, long range contaminant detection monitor kit during the January drill here that will keep them ahead of airborne threats in state emergencies.
National Guard unit readiness and emergency management flights in the continental United States were the first to receive an Area RAE Rapid Deployment Kit from the National Guard Bureau, said Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Shovlin, readiness and emergency management superintendent.
In short, it’s a hard shell carry case filled with the latest gear to sniff and monitor the air for the skull and crossbones type of stuff that can hurt you.
“[It] provides a force multiplier to Air National Guard readiness and emergency management flights embedded with fire and emergency services and bioenvironmental engineering, as well as being able to deploy with our counterparts in the civilian sector,” said Shovlin. “It will allow us to assess and respond quickly to the release of toxic and radioactive substances with this turnkey system.”
You might agree that constant training is the cornerstone of confidence, especially when facing hazards you can’t see, like poison air. Officials said that training on this new equipment will not only give Airmen confidence in their capabilities but ensure it is kept well for any eventuality.
“With the RDK, we have everything we need to create a perimeter and set up a command station,” said Shovlin.
Shovlin said that the kit allows teams to stay out of the hazardous environment after initial placement unlike past practices requiring on site relaying information back to the emergency operations center.
“We’d normally have somebody walking around with gear on to detect contaminants,” said Tech. Sgt. Marcus Jackson, emergency management specialist.
The gear removes Airmen in the field and has more perks, said officials.
“We’re comfortable with its technology, it just has more capabilities,” said Master Sgt. Holly Griffin, emergency management NCO in charge.
The readiness and emergency professionals said that they detect and respond to a wide range of threats.
“We have the capability to detect chemicals, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive attacks,” said Griffin. “We have an arsenal of equipment, from the very basic a sheet of pH paper and chemically treated M8 paper, to an Area RAE pro that has all of the bells and whistles needed to detect toxic chemicals.”