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407th ECES builds joint firefighting foundation during airfield exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lane T. Plummer
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Firefighters from the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron participated in an airfield exercise at Ahmed al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, Aug. 16, 2019.

The exercise was an opportunity for service members from multiple branches to cooperate on one of the most intense scenarios a firefighter could be called for: an aircraft on fire on the flightline.

“We had a simulated MV-22 engine fire,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Casey Madigan, Marine Wing Support Detachment 473rd Expeditionary fire and rescue. “We arrived on scene, the crash truck put out the fire in the engine. Our rescue crew brought out five casualties and we provided them [simulated] medical care.”

Several emergency service vehicles arrived on-scene and simulated putting out the fire in the MV-22 Osprey then providing immediate medical care to the victims. Firefighters and medical personnel included Airmen, Marines and Sailors.

“Working with all branches in the military gets us familiar with protocol procedures that everybody does with our actions and how we handle things on-scene,” Madigan said. “It really helps with real-world scenarios.”

In order to accurately recreate this realism, it required equipment, aircraft and vehicular support that the fire station was able to provide.

“We use all our crash vehicles like a video game,” said Tech Sgt. Aaron Alcaraz, 407th ECES fire station captain, deployed from the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing at Peoria, Ill. “They have joysticks we use to physically fight the fire before transitioning to exterior operations with traditional handlines and fire hoses.”

All-in-all, the exercise concluded with a lot of positives for all members to take and learn from.

“People come from all different parts of the country,” Alcaraz said. “We have to take all of them and bring them into one cohesive fire department, and the only way to do that is to train like we did today.”

An Air Force firefighter is prepared to operate in unusual environments compared to those on the outside, and thanks to successful training exercises, those environments stay preserved and safe.

“Every firefighter joins to be hands-on,” Alcaraz said. “We’re all hands-on in everything we do. None of us like sitting behind a desk staring at a PowerPoint presentation all day. As long as we’re capable of doing exercises, that’s what we do. We try to come up with as many scenarios as we can to accomplish this.”