EMST decontamination training

Airmen check for radiation during a decontamination training exercise for the emergency management support team at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. Keeping the EMST up to speed enables emergency management to respond quicker and more efficiently. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Airmen check for radiation during a decontamination training exercise for the emergency management support team at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. Keeping the EMST up to speed enables emergency management to respond quicker and more efficiently. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Airman 1st Class Alexander Trippett, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal apprentice, briefs the emergency management support team on a decontamination exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The EMST is made up of Airmen from various offices throughout 2nd CES and is augmented to aid Barksdale’s emergency management team during an emergency situation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Airman 1st Class Alexander Trippett, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal apprentice, briefs the emergency management support team on a decontamination exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The EMST is made up of Airmen from various offices throughout 2nd CES and is augmented to aid Barksdale’s emergency management team during an emergency situation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Airman 1st Class Melanie Martine, emergency management apprentice, waits for instructions during a decontamination training exercise for the emergency management support team at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The EMST trains every month to ensure they are ready when duty calls. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Airman 1st Class Melanie Martine, emergency management apprentice, waits for instructions during a decontamination training exercise for the emergency management support team at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The EMST trains every month to ensure they are ready when duty calls. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Senior Airman Troy Adams, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron heating ventilation and air conditioning systems technician, uses a radiation scanner during a decontamination exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The intent of the decontamination process is to help people who have come into contact with radioactive material to ditch their gear without contaminating themselves or others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

Senior Airman Troy Adams, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron heating ventilation and air conditioning systems technician, uses a radiation scanner during a decontamination exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., June 6, 2016. The intent of the decontamination process is to help people who have come into contact with radioactive material to ditch their gear without contaminating themselves or others. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Luke Hill)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

The 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management support team performed decontamination training here June 9.

The EMST is made up of Airmen from various units and squadrons throughout the 2nd CES. The team is augmented to aid Barksdale’s emergency management unit during an emergency situation such as radiation contamination, weather disasters, or nuclear disasters. The team must be ready when called upon, so it is essential for them to stay sharp in their skills sets.

“It’s very important to train and have people on EMST up to speed,” said Airman 1st Class Michael Naughton, 2nd CES water and fuels systems maintenance journeyman. “Being knowledgeable on procedures will save lives in an emergency situation. If the EMST is up to speed, it also enables emergency management to respond quicker and more efficiently.”

The EMST trains every month to ensure they are ready when duty calls. This month, the EMST did decontamination training. The decontamination process is essential in protecting people from radiation poisoning during a nuclear incident or any other accident where radiation is present.

“Radiation has devastating effects on the human body; everything needs to be done properly,” said Naughton. “To protect ourselves and others, we need to make sure someone who has come into contact with radiation is decontaminated quickly and correctly.”

The intention of this process is to help people who have come into contact with radioactive material to ditch their gear without contaminating themselves or others. The process is simple, however, even the most simple process becomes complex when lives are at stake.

“Everything changes during an emergency. Your stress levels increase and it becomes much easier to make a mistake,” said Staff Sgt. Rodrick Pearson, 2nd CES emergency management NCO in-charge of operations. “Decontamination is a straightforward process, but we want it to be second nature to our EMST.”

The EMST has a unique job. They have to be able to remain calm and react to an emergency situation quickly and efficiently because oftentimes lives are at stake; or as the NCOIC of EM operations says:

“We are emergency management. We need to be ready to do our job quickly -  anytime… anywhere!”