CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Nov. 20, 2018) - United States Army Garrison Japan's Directorate of Emergency Services and the U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan conducted a UH-60 helicopter incident bilateral exercise Nov. 16, 2018, on Sagami General Depot.

Leonard Dasilva, flight operation specialist for the aviation battalion, said the object of the exercise was to provide a training opportunity for the garrison's bilateral neighbors, as well as for the Garrison's first responders.

"We do this once a quarter to make sure process, notification and response is what is necessary to save lives in the event of a real emergency," said Dasilva.

Tsuyoshi Nakayama, Sagamihara City Fire Department rescue team member, said a dozen staff including firefighters, rescue and medical teams from his fire department participated in the exercise to test the emergency response process with their Garrison counterparts.

"The exercise gave us the opportunity to collaborate with USAG Japan's first responders to treat casualties based on a realistic scenario," said Nakayama. "It's really beneficial to strengthen our working relationship."

Yoshitaka Kaito, a Garrison fire crew chief, said one of the main goals for the exercise was to be able to communicate and work smoothly with the neighboring city's first responders in the event of emergency.

"The exercise made us realize what works and what needs to be improved," said Kaito. "We'd like to continue to have more opportunities like this to help us work more efficiently."

Frank Wombwell, DES regional fire chief, said it's critically important to train not only with his personnel but also with Sagamihara city's first responders, because it will improve everyone's skills and lead to a higher level of safety for the firefighters and the people who they protect.