Readiness in a post-COVID world

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Marko L. Salopek
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs

The June 2020 unit training assembly marked the first time the 940th Emergency Management Office conducted chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense training in a post-coronavirus environment.

According to Tech. Sgt. Jim R. Stonebarger, a 940th Air Refueling Wing emergency manager, prior to COVID-19, the Air Force Instruction dictated that emergency management could conduct training, but limited them to a single event per year. This was typically accomplished in one large group.

In light of COVID-19, Stonebarger said that the AFI had been modified to allow emergency management to conduct training in a setting that would comply with health and safety requirements.

The mass training originally scheduled for June UTA weekend was adjusted to follow social distancing and group size restrictions. It was broken up into classes with 10 Reservists each, held at five separate locations across Beale Air Force Base.

“As an instructor, we prefer the smaller classes because we can focus more with the individuals,” said Stonebarger. “The mass classes, especially when you get to that one-to-30 instructor ratio, make it difficult to personalize the class.”

The smaller class sizes was also well-received by students.

“It was very informative, yet quick and to the point,” said Staff Sgt. Jazmyn Sumrall-McCavley, 940th Logistics Readiness Squadron distribution operations technician.

Even after COVID-19 restriction are lifted in the future, Stonebarger said it is likely that the small CBRNE Defense class sizes will be here to stay.