Fire protection flight maintains readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nestor Cruz
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Training events give Airmen the opportunity to sharpen their skills. But for the members of the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire and Emergency Services flight here, every day is a training day.

FES flight members participated in a training event of their own Monday in which a hazardous material leak was simulated. The flight conducts various types of training daily including hazardous materials, aircraft, structural and auto extrication.
Training is also conducted on various techniques such as high-angle and low-angle rescues.

"High-angle rescue is considered to be terrain that has a slope angle of 60 degrees or higher. Low-angle rescue is considered to be terrain that has a slope angle from 15 to 35 degrees," said Master Sgt. Arthur Harkum, 18 CES/CEF superintendent of operations and readiness. "Examples of high-angle locations include pipe racks, ledges, catwalks, tops of vessels, cranes and water towers."

"A firefighter's primary job when not responding to emergencies is training," said Senior Master Sgt. Glen Paveglio, 18 CES deputy chief of Fire and Emergency Services. "Training enables our firefighters to practice emergency response procedures before a real-world emergency occurs."

In addition to in-house training, Fire and Emergency Services members also train other Airmen on fire safety.

"We show a video on fire safety during the newcomer's briefings and conduct fire extinguisher training with the newly assigned Airmen attending the First Term Airman Center course," said Sergeant Harkum.

According to Staff Sgt. Shaque Carter, 18th Medical Operations Squadron, members from her squadron assigned to ambulance services operationally work for the Fire and Emergency Services flight for a year.

"This is a great opportunity to see the emergency medical side of what the firefighters do," Sergeant Carter said. "By going through this training, I get to sharpen my ability to act quickly and respond to emergencies. I also have a deep appreciation for the job the firefighters perform on a daily basis."

Children also receive fire safety training periodically throughout the school year.

"The schools have a required number of fire drills during the school year," Sergeant Harkum said. "During Fire Prevention Week, we concentrate our efforts on going to every school; each day is set for a different school. We show our trucks and our Fire Prevention section talks about safety. On the last day of Fire Prevention Week, we set up an obstacle course at the high school. The students put on our gear and go through our obstacle course."

Additionally, high school and middle school students have the opportunity to take a glimpse at a firefighter's work day during shadow day.

"During the school year, our high school and middle school students have shadow programs in which interested students will come over and stay with us for the day," Sergeant Harkum said. "The students who usually shadow us are high school students interested in joining the Air Force and becoming a firefighter. But sometimes we also get Airmen who are looking at cross training into our career field."

The 18th CES Fire and Emergency Services flight is composed of enlisted Airmen and civilian members. Positions within the flight include firefighter, driver/operator, crew chief, station chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, fire chief and the fire marshal, who is also the 18 CES commander.

Members from the flight operate out of five fire stations on Kadena. According to Sergeant Harkum, members respond to an average of eight emergencies every day, including in-flight, ground, alarm activation and medical emergencies.

"Everybody should be aware of the number to call for an emergency, which is 911," Sergeant Harkum said. "When you call, we know it's a hectic situation you're facing, so please slow down and make sure we get all the proper information. We ask you to repeat your information so we make sure we get the right information and we can send the right vehicles to the right emergency."