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Dobbins hosts incident response course

  • Published
  • By Christine Englemann & Lee G. Lynch
  • 94th Mission Support Group Bioenvironmental Engineering
“Dirty Bomb.” It was a term not widely used 25 years ago. Unfortunately today, it's a term with which our children are all too familiar.

The term “dirty bomb” relates to a terrorist activity that involves the detonation of an explosive that spreads radioactive material. It is a reality for which responders and emergency response experts should be prepared at all times. With this in mind, the Dobbins Bioenvironmental Engineering office hosted the “Introduction to Radiological and Nuclear Incident Response (IRNIR) Course” here Aug. 9-10.

The Defense Nuclear Weapons School provided the instruction, not only to Dobbins ARB civilian and military emergency response personnel, but also to emergency response employees from Cobb County and other emergency response workers from Air Force Reserve Command and active duty military. The IRNIR course provided basic instruction on nuclear weapons and radiological dispersal devices, radiological terrorism, medical and psychological effects of radiation, detection equipment and Federal Incident Response.

"IRNIR is a two-day awareness level course that helps responders and emergency managers understand the realities of operating in the radiological and nuclear environment," said Maj. Bruce Hill, Jr., a DTRA course instructor. "With that knowledge, they can operate with greater confidence and improve survivor recovery. We also bring awareness to the potential physical and psychological impacts on responding personnel so they can recognize the issues and deal with them to achieve the mission."

Personnel attending the class found the information helpful in preparation for these types of incidents

“This class closed the gap between myths and facts concerning emergency response to nuclear events,” said Robert Burgard, Dobbins’ Fire Emergency Services assistant fire chief.

“Course and instructors were excellent, especially with the hands-on equipment,” said Christine Englemann, bioenvironmental engineering chief. “The course stressed the importance of exercising as a team, so we can better respond as a team.”

“By far, one of the better Air Force-delivered courses I’ve attended in a long time,” said Josephine Atkins, Dobbins emergency management chief. “The instructors seem to truly love what they do and it showed in the presentation of the material. It was nice having a joint class with our internal partners. It created a drive to work to improve core relationships and combined processes.”

"Preparation for radiological events is important because of the adverse impacts that the lack of awareness and training can have on everyone involved," Hill said. "That's why we train all the military personnel we can, as well as civilian responders and emergency managers from Federal, state, tribal, and municipal governments around the country."

The IRNIR course is just one of many courses from DTRA that are available for emergency response personnel. By training in this area, Dobbins emergency response personnel are better prepared to effectively respond to nuclear and radiological incidents should the need arise.