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Prairie Rampart 14-2

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brittany Y. Bateman
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs Office
"The key is training for first responders, and evaluating their ability to quickly adapt as the situation evolves," said Rodney Onstott, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron readiness and emergency management deputy flight chief and the installation emergency manager.

The entire base participated in Prairie Rampart 14-2, an exercise involving a simulated radiological terrorist attack on Minot AFB. It also included exercising our anti-terrorism force protection plan, and had a mass casualty requirement.

"We simulated the exercise based on national events. What would we do if we had a terrorist attack at the base with an improvised explosive device that had a radiological material in it," Onstott said. "This basically represents an unknown hazard that we have to respond to, and it gives us the opportunity to practice our all-hazards response capability for the installation."

A little over 11,000 people played in the exercise, from the wing commander and his senior staff, referred to as the crisis action team, down to the role players. Of those, 100 to 125 people were first responders and 12 were youth accident victims.

"We had the opportunity to train and get participation from the teen youth program through the youth center, and that gave a whole new spin for our emergency responders," Onstott said. "They never dealt with dependent youth in a hazardous situation like that."

Onstott explained there is not an ideal response because you have an unknown situation.

"The exercise started out with what seemed to be a vehicle that blew up and caught on fire, which is a fairly common thing," Onstott said. "But when our responders get there under their all-hazards approach, they have detection equipment that would have alerted them that there were additional hazards."

When that happens, they fall back and regroup, continued Onstott. The incident commander then follows new tactics and procedures to address the new identified hazards.

"The main scrutiny for any kind of emergency response falls under the wing commander," said Onstott. "Personnel under the 5th Mission Support Group emergency response forces, whether it is the fire department, security forces or ambulance services, are here for the 5th BW commander to execute the protection of his base and base populace."

It is the responsibility of each emergency response function to prepare, train and equip their people to respond to an all-hazard event.

"We use these exercises to train and educate people, evaluate our capabilities, find areas to improve. Then we work together as a response force to implement those improvements," Onstott said. "Then we will exercise again."