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Senior Nellis leaders receive fire emersion training
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Staff Sgt. Matthew Supnick a crew chief with the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department makes sure the room is safe during structural fire training with Col. Steven Garland, 99th Air Base Wing commander and Brig. Gen. David Thompson, U.S Air Force Warfare Center vice commander at the Nellis live-fire training facility Oct. 18. The 99th Civil Engineer Squadron and fire emergency services flight invited Nellis senior leaders to a live-fire aircraft and structural exercise so they could experience some of the challenges firefighters encounter during real-world situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth)(Released)
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Senior leaders experience the burn of firefighting

Posted 10/20/2010   Updated 10/20/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department

10/20/2010 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 99th Civil Engineer Squadron and fire emergency services flight invited Nellis senior leaders to a live-fire aircraft and structural exercise here Oct. 18.

Brig. General David Thompson, United States Air Force Warfare Center vice commander, and Col. Steven Garland, 99th Air Base Wing commander, trained with the Nellis Fire Department so they could better understand some of the challenges firefighters encounter during real-world situations.

"We invited our leadership to train with us today so they could see first-hand, a portion of what our job entails after the alarm sounds," said Senior Master Sgt. Pete Sorensen, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department deputy fire chief.

The day of training started with instruction on firefighter safety, basic victim rescue, fire suppression operations and retreat actions in the event of a structural collapse or firefighter injury.

As part of the training the commanders were instructed on the proper use of personal protective equipment. This equipment included the proximity suit, which is made to protect firefighters from direct contact of temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. After equipment instruction, they received hands-on training.

"Firefighters provide a high level of confidence to Nellis personnel. This confidence helps accomplish the Nellis mission," Sergeant Sorensen said. "When aircraft experience troubles in the air or when a variety of ground emergencies occur, mission operators must have confidence in our professionalism and expertise. Firefighting skills are perishable, so we invest large portions of our time sharpening our capabilities."

Although firefighters are required to train using live fire only twice a year, Nellis Fire Department servicemembers' training takes place regularly to ensure the highest level of proficiency.

"We have one of the best fire training facilities located at any Department of Defense fire department," said Mr. Gordon Mincey, 99th CES Fire Department deputy assistant chief. "Our facility rivals that of most community fire training facilities and those at training academies. Because of that, we are able to conduct any type of training scenario or evolution to prepare not only our firefighters, but local communities and other DoD departments. The training facilities at Nellis are state of the art, and we are honored to be able to share those with the local fire department and to conduct joint training to better prepare for emergencies not only at our home station, but downrange as well."

Although Nellis senior leadership had never before taken part in a live fire exercise, General Thompson and Colonel Garland jumped at the opportunity to don the proximity suit and to fight a real fire.

"It was a great experience and I wish I could have gotten out here sooner," Colonel Garland said.

"Seeing what our young folks do, the training they have and how confident they are under stress, is always impressive," said General Thompson.

After the training was complete, General Thompson and Colonel Garland both expressed having a better understanding and respect for firefighters.

"It's great to see that we are prepared to do whatever we have to do in order to take care of the people here at Nellis," General Thompson said. "Whether it's a fire in family housing or a crash on the runway, it's good to know our people are trained to handle every situation."



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