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Multi-capable Airmen participate in Chemical Decon Training

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 4th Medical Group decontaminate a simulated patient inside an In-Place Patient Decontamination tent as part of a chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 3, 2021. During the exercise, Airmen learned how to quickly handle an emergency medical situation involving mass contamination. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 4th Medical Group, assess a patient during a chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina March 3, 2021. Participants simulated patient care a mass contamination event. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 4th Medical Group set up an In-Place Patient Decontamination tent at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 3, 2021. The tent provided medical Airmen with the capability to treat patients during a chemical warfare exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dylan Pack, 4th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron optometry technician, dons decontamination gear during a chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 3, 2021. Protective gear is essential for protection against chemical agents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

Members of the U.S. Air Force 4th Medical Group process a patient through an In-Place Patient Decontamination station during a chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 3, 2021. The purpose of the exercise was to train and evaluate the IPPD team's ability to decontaminate and prepare a patient to be transported to a higher level of medical care. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

4th Medical Group Airmen participate in chemical decon training.

A decontamination instructor and U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 4th Medical Group set up a water heater as a part of a chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 3, 2021. The water heaters provided hot water for the decontamination units to wash patients in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jordan Colvin)

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --

The 4th Medical Group In-Place Patient Decontamination Team participated in a simulated mass chemical warfare exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, March 2 – 3, 2021.

During the exercise, Airmen learned how to quickly handle an emergency situation involving mass contamination.

“Mass contamination events can be anything from a biochemical agent to a nuclear accident or something like a radiological dispersal device that doesn’t even have to explode,” said Maria Danielson, decontamination education and consulting trainer. “In these events, victims will rush to the nearest medical treatment location.”

In a real-world event where people are exposed to harmful chemical agents, they would be decontaminated before being medically treated.
“They [the IPPD team] are basically the shield for the medical treatment facility,” said Ramirez “Their mission is to make sure patients are clean enough to come in for medical treatment.”

To successfully complete the training and receive their certifications, the 12-person team had to set up a tent, water heater and have four personnel suited up in Powered Air-Purifying Respirator gear within 15 minutes. After that, the rest of the team had to be geared up within an additional five minutes.

August 2019 was the last time the IPPD team held an official training, however, they aim to complete this training at least once a year, said Ramirez having more Airmen equipped with the training is essential, to keeping the base safe.

The IPPD team decontaminated one simulated non-ambulatory patient and one ambulatory patient, setting up two lanes in a tent to clean both patients at the same time before they could proceed for further medical treatment.

“IPPD training is a critical capability the Strike Eagle Medics deliver to our wing,” said Col. William Malloy, 4th MDG, commander. “We pride ourselves on having fully trained and ready medical warriors. The decontamination process is a specialized skill that we never want to use, however, if the nation requires it, we will be ready to answer the call.”