Incident response Soldiers train to decontaminate Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Story and photo by Amy Newcomb
GUIDON staff

The Incident Response Training Department conducted technical decontamination training at the Lt. Joseph Terry Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Responder Facility, July 12.
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Capt. Timothy Kudzia, right, 22nd Chem. Bn., helps Sgt. Sean Hardage, 310th Chem. Co., take off his Level A protective gear during the decontamination phase of Technical Escort training, July 12.

This training is only one part of the four-week, three-day Technical Escort Training course that students have to learn. The course is open to all branches of service as well as some civilian agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sgt. 1st Class Kareem Stewart, Technical Escort Training noncommissioned officer-in-charge, said the day had been set aside for a group of students to conduct a practical exercise on decontamination in support of the Hazmat technician level.
“Today is focused on the concepts of (decontamination), so they are actually going to set up a Decon line and go station-by-station to get the gist of what station does what and why,” Stewart said.

This training gives students hands-on experience of the procedures they would have to go through in a real-life decontamination situation.

There were several stations during the decontamination training. First, students had to put on Level A protection gear, which is a full-body plastic suit covering them and their self-contained breathing apparatus, oxygen tank, rubber boots and gloves.

The first task was for the students to drop their equipment for decontamination before going through the line to decontaminate themselves. Then students proceeded through the next few stations to decontaminate their rubber boots, gloves and suit. Once this was accomplished, students were checked for any signs of outer contamination. After they were confirmed decontaminated, students would begin the process of taking off their Level A protective gear.

Once they had successfully removed their rubber gloves, boots, suits, face masks and oxygen tanks, they were checked for any contamination that may have leaked through their suits and onto their bodies. With none found, students went through a stand-up shower for final decontamination and were then seen by a health care provider to monitor their vital signs.

Sgt. Sean Hardage, 310th Chemical Company, said it’s important for him and his fellow students to understand how to properly decontaminate themselves as well as others.

“We are going through a tech escort school, so being a part of a tech escort is responding to a situation,” Hardage said. “If there are casualties, we have to know how to decon them as well as go through the decon line ourselves.”

Steward agrees, “This is very important, because Hazmat is a big piece of where we are going in the world. The biggest hazards right now are toxic in nature and so are weaponized chemicals, but we are thinking about the mitigation of accidental threats. To be prepared for war, we have to be prepared in Conus.”
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 August 2011 )