MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, conducted a mass casualty exercise, April 3, 2015, in preparation for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force/MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day 2015 Air Show.
This is the first time the JMSDF is participating in the Friendship Day Air Show.
The exercise simulated an aircraft crash and an oil spill during Friendship Day 2015 where large crowds are expected to be.
“This was our first chance to exercise all three of our elements; the first responders, the incident command system and the show operations center to see how they would come together working alongside the JMSDF,” said Maj. Robert E. Carlson Jr., air operations officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.
In order to make the exercise more realistic and beneficial, everyone participating in the exercise knew an incident was going to occur but did not know what, when or where it would happen.
The goal of the exercise was to demonstrate effective incident management, validate mutual communication when responding with JMSDF members, execute the installation mass casualty plan and developed an evacuation plan.
“The biggest thing we focused on were the rules and responsibilities, figuring out who is doing what and how we can better interact with each other. It’s something we continue to work on,” said Carlson. “Overall it was successful, we identified strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest strengths was that communication greatly improved throughout the exercise at all three locations.”
Friendship Day is scheduled to take place on the newly constructed flightline and more than 300,000 visitors are expected to attend.
“With Friendship Day bringing a large amount of visitors aboard station, we need to be prepared if something like this were to happen,” said Lance Cpl. Deacon Wallace, an aircraft rescue firefighter with H&HS. “So this was good practice, now we know what we should do or what we could do better for next time.”
Wallace said that because of the language barrier between U.S. military members and the JMSDF, communication is always something they need to work on but it’s continually getting better.
“Besides the few communication difficulties, everything went as well as it could’ve gone,” said Carlsomn.
In order to avoid miscommunication in the event of an evacuation process, the station is providing an English narrator and Japanese translator to give instructions over loud speakers staged throughout the event area.
“This is all just preparation, we don’t want people to get worked up and scared thinking this is going happen, Friendship Day is supposed to be fun,” said Carlson. “This year is going to be a very exciting air show, and we can’t wait to open the gate.”
For more information about Friendship Day 2015, visit http://friendship-day.net/