'Wing on guard for potential disaster,' says emergency manager Published Jan. 4, 2016 By Senior Airman Cody Martin 188th Wing Public Affairs EBBING AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ark. -- The 188th Wing's chief emergency manager said recently that Airmen here prepare for worst-case scenarios to respond in defense support to civilian authorities. "During a DSCA mission, the civilian authorities are always in charge," said Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Redding, chief of emergency management for the wing and the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region VI. "We may be a major piece during the operation, but we are never in charge." The Arkansas National Guard responds to emergencies within the state and region for the governor. The county judge, the county sheriff or the mayor call for assistance. The emergency support requests are processed and authorized, and the state activates its Soldiers and Airmen. Redding said that the wing trains for numerous incidents, including one of the most anticipated disasters: an earthquake. "The worst-case scenario is a New Madrid seismic earthquake," said Redding. Those earthquakes struck Dec. 16, 1811, Jan. 23, 1812, and Feb. 7, 1812. They damaged 600,000 square kilometers as the largest recorded North American earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains. An earthquake of that magnitude could prove to be catastrophic, said Redding. The wing trained in Vigilant Guard Arkansas 2013, a multi-agency emergency response exercise in Fort Gruber, Okla. That exercise simulated the response to an earthquake on the New Madrid fault. The wing sent urban search and rescue units, a civil support team and emergency management Airmen; moreover, Redding said that the wing has other disaster response capabilities. The 188th Civil Engineer Squadron has two disaster relief bed-down systems with 150 beds, shower and latrine facilities, kitchen and self-help laundry machines, and water purifiers. The wing also has a Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) training center. Its Airmen can set up and clear roads and runways using heavy equipment. Route clearance is vital to open up a way for responders to get help to the incident, said Redding. The wing also operates a reception center for troops coming and going from disaster operations, called a Joint Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration, which keeps track of all personnel and equipment. With abundant capabilities and ample training opportunities, Redding said that the wing's readiness would support the community and save lives.