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380AEW Article

Can you handle the heat?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Erica Rodriguez

The 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Department is showing Al Dhafra Air Base members a taste of what it’s like to be a firefighter through their newly established ‘Firefighter for a Day’ program.

In this program, volunteers go through a day of firefighter training; learning to dawn fire protective gear, riding along in fire truck, going through different simulations and more.

“Its gives opportunities for members in our wing to come down and train with us, try on our gear and use our equipment to gain a better understanding of our responsibilities and our daily operations,” said Master Sgt. Eric Kudro, 380th ECES firefighter and creator of the program.

Kudro describes the program as a way to improve the moral of the participant, letting them do something that they otherwise usually wouldn’t do. It allows them to see the bigger picture of what’s happening on the airfield and see what the firefighters do on a daily basis.

Senior Airman Rachel Johnson, 380th CES emergency manager, was the first to participate in the program. Johnson wanted to use the training to give herself insight into a career field she is pursing outside of the Air Force.

“Back home I’m a dispatcher and my hope is to someday be a public safeties officer, which would include police, fire and EMT training. Being an emergency manager gives me a better understanding of the tactical level response,” said Johnson.

Leading Johnson throughout the day was Staff Sgt. Jamie Perkins, 380th ECES firefighter, who showed her how to properly check the fire truck before heading to the station and how to properly put on her gear, exposing Johnson to the extremes that come with working as a firefighter in a hot, humid climate.

“After checking the vehicles, I feel like one of the most important things we show trainees is what the gear feels like,” said Perkins. “Part of the day may be filled with downtime, but when the bell rings, it’s time for us to go. It’s important to show trainees the importance of physical fitness.”

After the long, physically testing day, Johnson agreed that the program proved to be very rewarding and an experience not to be forgotten.

“If someone is even considering doing this, they definitely should,” said Johnson. “You get to see what it really takes to be a firefighter. I want to say thank you to those who put this on, it was a great opportunity. You get a real great hands-on experience as opposed to what you would traditionally think would be a ride along experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity.”

All members from ADAB are encouraged to apply for the program which is done on a first come, first serve basis.