MCAS Fire Dept., ARFF hone skills

11 Nov 2005 | Cpl. Anthony Guas

Overturned vehicles and injured citizens littered the area as Air Station Firefighters and Marines from Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting responded to a simulated call for help, Oct. 31.

Although the scene was realistic, it was actually the first day of the two-day rescue drill conducted at Fightertown’s ARFF training area. The basic response drill measured the emergency responder’s ability to handle a vehicle accident with multiple victims.

To make the drill realistic the firefighters were only given information while en route to the scene, according to Darran Vaughn, a firefighter and training officer for the Air Station Fire Department.

“The purpose of the exercise was to hone our skills, as well as ARFF’s,” Vaughn said. “We don’t get a lot of serious accidents, so it is important to train.”

To ensure 100 percent participation, the same drill was conducted on both days, so that all the firefighters and Marines had an opportunity to participate, according to Vaughn.

Over the past several months Fightertown’s firefighters have received some new tools. The new tools include battery operated rescue tools designed for cutting and prying doors open, such as a reciprocating saw. This exercise afforded them the opportunity to gain more knowledge on the equipment they use to save lives, according to Vaughn.

Along with sharpening their skills and getting comfortable working with their new gear, the drill gave the Firefighters an opportunity to train with the ARFF Marines.

“It allowed us to work together with ARFF,” Vaughn said. “We may be working with them on some calls, so it is good to practice together.”

Although the ARFF Marines did not play a large role in the drill, it gave them an opportunity to train in a different situation, according to Staff Sgt. Bobby Clark, the ARFF training chief. The ARFF Marines got a chance to work with some of the equipment and help with the medical evacuations.

“This is not something that we get to do a lot,” Clark said. “We will start to make this a monthly event. It is good to get this type of training.”

The drill involved many aspects that take practice and teamwork to accomplish, according to Vaughn.

“As soon as we got there we looked for hazards, and then began assigning emergency personnel to the care of the victims and vehicle assessment,” Vaughn said. “Next we wanted to get the victims around the cars evacuated.”

The scene, although a drill, was an important reminder that lifesaving techniques are key to sustaining life, and practice ensures first responders respond correctly the first time.

“The exercise went well and everyone worked together,” Vaughn said. “It was a good drill, it kept everybody thinking. It was a good learning experience and we plan to do more.”