U.S., Qatari improve joint firefighting skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kia Atkins
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force and Qatari Emiri Air Force Firefighters, here, conducted joint firefighting training, Oct. 30, that was designed to improve interoperability.

The main focus of the training was on structural exercises and victim-drags from buildings or aircraft. A structural exercise is one that focuses on the tactics, techniques and procedures involved in the successful mitigation of fire and other emergencies in buildings or aircraft.

“Our joint mission is to be able to save lives and property,” said Senior Airman Michael Granados, a firefighter assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron here. “So for both of us, training on personnel drags, is meeting the same mission objective: to get victims to safety in a timely manner.”

Firefighters from the 379th ECES worked with the Qatari Emiri Air Force firefighters to learn more about the country’s aircraft and the equipment they use during emergencies, and in turn, the 379th ECES firefighters shared their techniques for rescue drags and carries for egress of personnel.

“Today I was able to learn about their aircraft rescue procedures,” Granados said. “We were able to see their shutdown procedures in the event of an aircraft emergency, and as firefighters, that is important to us. We also went over their egress procedures to learn how to they rescue pilots and crew members from aircraft.”

Al Udeid Air Base’s Fire Department is one of the few buildings on base that is cohabited by both American and Qatari forces, and every month they hold bilateral training to boost their cohesiveness. This training enhances their working relationship and enables them to do what they are trained to do: save lives and preserve property.

“Our response to all types of hazards, includes our mutual partners (the Qataris),” said Tech. Sgt. Luke Rogan, 379th ECES A-shift assistant chief of operations. “The airfield belongs to them. We’re responsible for helping them in the event of an emergency, and they are responsible for helping us. This training furthers our relationships, and helps us build a stronger bond; so that in the event of an emergency, we can both respond in the same way.”

Though each of the different country’s firefighters are taught different rescue drags and carries, they were able to fine tune their techniques in a way that they were both comfortable with.

“We build upon commonalities and identify each other’s shortfalls and weaknesses, so that we can build and improve upon them,” Rogan said.

Training opportunities such as these allow joint firefighters to share their different operating procedures during emergencies, which help them respond to any and all hazards more effectively.