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380AEW Article

Firefighters exercise their skills

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing
As smoke billowed from a two-story building, firefighters assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron exercised their rescue capabilities during a simulated structure fire Jan. 12, 2018 at Al Dhafra Air Base.

The exercise simulated a two-story building fire with one person reported missing inside. Upon arriving at the scene, the firefighter immediately took action.

Senior Airman Carolyn Melrose, 380th ECES firefighter who is currently deployed from the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard, successfully led her six-person team in recovering the missing person and extinguishing the fire.

“This exercise helped me get one step closer to completing my Fire Officer One certification,” said Melrose. “Part of training is to lead a team during a structural fire.”

According to Tech Sgt. Bradley Schneider, 380th ECES fire inspector, the Fire Officer One certificate teaches firefighters how to perform the duties as a front line supervisor.

During the exercise, Melrose’s team utilized the “two-in, two-out” policy which mandates that firefighters never enter a building alone during a rescue mission. The two firefighters act as a team entering a structure and another two-person team waits outside the hazard ready to rescue those inside, should they need it.

“You have to trust yourself, your equipment and the personnel around you,” said Melrose. “It’s reassuring to know if anything goes bad, my team is going to do everything they can to get me out.”

Schneider also stressed safety is their number one priority. “We want to do things at real-world paces,” he said, “but not to the point where people are getting hurt.”

Tech Sgt. Matt Quackenbush, 380th ECES station captain, oversaw the exercise and was pleased with the overall performance of the entire team.

“I take pride in watching these Airmen complete these exercises,” said Quakenbush. “Trainings like these are important for Airmen to get the hands-on experience in case they need to apply their skills in a real situation.”