News>Sheppard member first in AF to receive AFCAHR certification
Jeremy Kirk, Defense Support Services emergency management specialist, uses a piece of equipment called the Hazmat ID to test an unknown liquid April 4, 2012. Kirk was the first to receive the Air Force Certified All-Hazards Responder certification in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Adawn Kelsey)
by Senior Airman Adawn Kelsey
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
4/13/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- One of Sheppard's own is the first to receive the Air Force Certified All-Hazards Responder certification not only at Sheppard, or in Air Education and Training Command, but the first in the entire Air Force.
Jeremy Kirk, Defense Support Services emergency management specialist, was notified of his accomplishment by Chief Master Sgt. Claudette Watler-Hall, Air Force Emergency Management career field manager. It was then he found out he was the first in not only the emergency management career field but the whole Air Force, to receive the new certification, which was developed by the Air Force about a year ago.
"I have pride in the fact that I was the first to accomplish the certification," Kirk said. "But at the same time was surprise I was the first out of the 800-900 Air Force emergency managers in the career field."
AFCAHR AFCEM certification is a voluntary certification through the Air Force Emergency Management program, used to enhance career development, demonstrates the required skills that as an All-Hazards Responder and to broaden and expand knowledge base on emergency management. With seven years invested into his EM career, Kirk said getting the certification was a relatively quick process.
"Once the application package came out I already had a lot of the training requirements, the time in the Air Force Emergency Management career field, requirements for participation in (base) exercises," Kirk said. "Basically all I had left to do was to submit the application package and take the test."
Kirk said the certification requires a certain amount of years in the Air Force EM career field and education as well as contributions to the EM field.
"There are certain mile stones that you have to get to before you can get your certification," he said. "Some mile stones include DOD Hazmat certifications, 100 hours of additional emergency management training, contributions to the career field whether it may be joining an international emergency management association, speaking at conferences or publishing EM related topics and a few others."
Although the certification is Air Force specific, the training is tied in closely with the international association of emergency manager's certification. Some of the training requirements such as exercise requirements and contributions to the career field are the same. The certification won't transfer to a down town agency but it complements the functions in emergency management.
"This certificate benefits me primarily in career advancement, but in turn it provides a greater knowledge base in emergency management for the Emergency Operations Center," Kirk said. "It also benefits me in my role as an emergency responder on scene of a natural disaster, major accident, hazmat incident or terrorist attack involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive materials."