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Air Station firefighters prepare for worst

By Lance Cpl. Josh Pettway | | April 2, 2010

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Firefighters risk their lives every time they receive a call. However, that call may not pertain just to fires.

The Air Station Structural Fire and Emergency Services Department held its annual hazardous material training aboard the Air Station, March 12-16.

The training taught new techniques and re-educated the firefighters and paramedics on handling situations where there may be hazardous substances in the area. The training lasted four days and consisted of two drills.

“We executed each of the two drills for a certain amount of time,” said Stephen Carter, a firefighter paramedic with the Fire Department. “For the confined space drill, there were 16 hours necessary to complete and 24 for hazmat drills.”

During the training, the firefighters utilized many different kinds of equipment to protect, detect and transport. Spectrometers detect changes in the air and Level A suits which protect hazardous materials.

They were given a scenario for the hazmat training. The firefighters had to gain entry into a vehicle during a scenario to rescue an individual who attempted suicide by making a toxic gas and confining himself to his vehicle. The firefighters had to enter the area quickly without putting themselves at risk and rescue the victim.

“All of the lessons (we learned) were a way for everyone who had not practiced in a while to refresh it in their minds,” said Don Disharoon, a firefighter with the Fire Department. “It is important  everyone knows how to handle high-risk situations.”

The firefighters also worked hand-in-hand with the Provost Marshal’s Office by using surveillance cameras to investigate the scene without unnecessarily exposing themselves.

“This training is good because in the event where you do not know what your dealing with, it is helpful to know how to react,” said Jonas Green, a firefighter with the Fire Department. “We didn’t know what was in the vehicle, but we handled the situation accordingly.”

By working together, the firefighters and paramedics managed to leave the
scene unscathed.

“I have a good team to work with,” said Tim Oram, a firefighter captain with the Fire Department. “They work well with the supplies they have, and they cooperate with each other just as well, if not better.”


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