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Keesler, Biloxi exercise accident response

Keesler personnel participate in a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Keesler personnel participate in a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Lt. Col. Billy Wilson, 81st Training Wing inspector general, logs personnel response activity during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Lt. Col. Billy Wilson, 81st Training Wing inspector general, logs personnel response activity during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Master Sgt. Joseph Freiesleben, 81st Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, and Tech. Sgt. Eric Goebel, 81st SFS flight chief, discuss a cordon perimeter during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Master Sgt. Joseph Freiesleben, 81st Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, and Tech. Sgt. Eric Goebel, 81st SFS flight chief, discuss a cordon perimeter during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Firefighters from the 81st Infrastructure Division assist a “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Firefighters from the 81st Infrastructure Division assist a “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Members of the 81st Infrastructure Division fire department set up a decontamination site for affected “victims” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Members of the 81st Infrastructure Division fire department set up a decontamination site for affected “victims” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Tech. Sgt. Justin King and Chad Martin, 81st Infrastructure Division firefighters, conduct initial entry and recon operations of the accident site during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Tech. Sgt. Justin King and Chad Martin, 81st Infrastructure Division firefighters, conduct initial entry and recon operations of the accident site during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Andrew Powell, 81st Infrastructure Division firefighter, operates Engine 34 in support of decontamination operations during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Andrew Powell, 81st Infrastructure Division firefighter, operates Engine 34 in support of decontamination operations during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

81st Infrastructure Division firefighters assist “victims” to a decontamination site during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

81st Infrastructure Division firefighters assist “victims” to a decontamination site during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

James Donnett, 81st Infrastructure Division fire chief, briefs the incident action plan during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

James Donnett, 81st Infrastructure Division fire chief, briefs the incident action plan during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

An 81st Infrastructure Division firefighter follows decontamination procedures on 2nd Lt. Jared Hines, 81st Contracting Squadron contract specialist, as he portrays a contaminated “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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An 81st Infrastructure Division firefighter follows decontamination procedures on 2nd Lt. Jared Hines, 81st Contracting Squadron contract specialist, as he portrays a contaminated “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Keesler personnel portraying “victims” board an ambulance during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Keesler personnel portraying “victims” board an ambulance during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Maj. Daniel Schneider, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioengineering flight commander, and Senior Airman Tori Smith, 81st AMDS bioenvironmental technician, document perimeter readings during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Maj. Daniel Schneider, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioengineering flight commander, and Senior Airman Tori Smith, 81st AMDS bioenvironmental technician, document perimeter readings during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Chaplain (Capt.) Rashaundra Singleton, 81st Training Wing chaplain, provides assistance to Airman Basic Rendall Powell, 335th Training Squadron student, as he portrays the son of a “victim” during a next of kin notification during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Chaplain (Capt.) Rashaundra Singleton, 81st Training Wing chaplain, provides assistance to Airman Basic Rendall Powell, 335th Training Squadron student, as he portrays the son of a “victim” during a next of kin notification during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

Senior Airman Daniel Gorshe, 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, portrays a “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)
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Senior Airman Daniel Gorshe, 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, portrays a “victim” during a train derailment exercise Feb. 16, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. The exercise scenario simulated a train and vehicle collision, which resulted in a derailment and chemical spill, creating a mass casualty and HAZMAT response event. This exercise tested base and local civilian emergency response organizations’ ability to operate in a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction crisis situation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Keesler Air Force Base personnel partnered with Biloxi first responders to tackle a major accident and response exercise, Feb. 16, in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The exercise tested base and local emergency management organizations on their ability to respond to and recover from an off-base train derailment and chemical spill that affected military, civilian and marine wildlife zones.

“Training exercises like this are important because they help us keep our perishable response and recovery skills sharp,” said JD Donnett, Keesler Fire Department chief. “They also help us build relationships with our civilian counterparts and work on ways to solve problems as a collective.”

This specific scenario, categorized as a National Incident Management System Level 2 emergency, calls for a multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction response.

Base security forces, fire department and medical airmen stood up to assist on scene, while chapel, airman and family readiness, personnel, logistics, finance and more assisted throughout the recovery period.

“During a real-world incident like this we’d have to coordinate with agencies like the Department of Marine Resources, (U.S.) Coast Guard, CSX (the railroad company) and more, in addition to our civilian first response counterparts,” said Donnett, who is also the base incident commander. “But thanks to exercises like this, establishing communication within a large-scale unified command feels like a nearly seamless integration of our forces.”

Though Keesler’s first responders have an established working relationship with their local equivalents, joint exercises serve to strengthen those bonds.

“We enjoy a fantastic relationship with our community partners,” said Col. Danny Davis, 81st Mission Support Group commander. “Our first responders regularly interact with their civilian counterparts across the local communities. This regular interaction is critical and facilitates a healthy working relationship in the event we should ever have to respond to a unified crisis in the vicinity of the installation.”

Together, Team Keesler and Biloxi responders were able to handle treating dozens of ‘injured’ and the containment of hundreds of gallons of ‘released’ chemicals.

“Training is a cornerstone of our success in the Air Force,” said Davis, who is also the Emergency Operations Center director during exercise and real-world incidents. “It’s the foundation upon which we have built the world’s greatest Air Force.”