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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Sept. 6, 2007

Andrews firefighters train to save lives

By Bobby Jones Photojournalist

In the midst of downsizing and essential personnel being deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 316th Civil Engineer Squadron's Fire Station One maintains a constant flow of life-saving training for new firefighters fresh out of technical school. 

"The Firefighter's Confidence Course that we provide them with is equivalent to the annual National Firefighter Combat Mini-Challenge, where firefighters compete and perform various firefighting skills requiring experienced and split-second decisions," said Adam Burak, 316 CES lead firefighter, "The FFCC training is just one sector of their level-three proficiency training which tests their strength and stamina to perform their job in real-life situations," said Burak. "The purpose of the training is also to familiarize each Airman with the fire gear and equipment." 

During FFCC training, the firefighters are timed from the moment they start donning approxiamtely 125-pounds of full firefighter apparel, including a self contained breathing apparatus. The firefighter then ascends a 102-foot ladder during the stairwell climb portion of the exercise. Once at the top, they immediately hoist a 45-pound rolled hose up by tugging on a rope, hand-over-hand from the ground and then quickly lower it to the ground. Subsequently, the firefighter descends the ladder, runs to the Kasier Sled and proceeds to swing an eight-pound sledge hammer into the sled until it meets its stopping point. The Kaiser Sled tests a firefighters endurance and simulates breaching walls. 

Next the member walks and weaves through a set of cones, to simulate balance and awareness of surroundings before returning to the beginning. They then pick up and drag a charged fire hose 100 feet and discharge the hose, trying to knock down the last cone. This drill tests the firefighters accuracy to pinpoint stream control of the discharge agent onto the hotspot of the fire. 

In conclusion, the firefighter closes the fire hose nozzle and drags it back to the original starting point before their final time is confirmed. 

The station recently received approxiamately 14 to 18 new firefighters, who receive continuous daily training in a variety of areas such as such as hazardous materials, structual, aircraft, confined spaces, emergency medical service and CPR. 

"While in a training environment the Airmen do compete which each other during the Confidence Course with training. However, the technical accuracy of the training task is always emphasized," said Christopher Parks, 316 CES assistant fire chief. "Because it's more important to get it right, than to just do it fast, because you only have one chance to save a life ."