By Staff Sgt. Cary Smith, 378th AEW/PA
/ Published September 17, 2020
Airmen from the 378th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department respond to a fire training scenario at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sept. 3, 2020. The scenario helped firefighters respond to the type of fire that could occur at the Living Support Area on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Cary Smith)
With more than 2,000 people living inside the Life Support Area at Prince Sultan Air Base, any number of hazards can occur.
The 378th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department continually trains to polish their skills and remain ready to stamp out fires.
Sometimes firefighters can simulate certain scenarios. Other times, the best way to train is to fight against a live fire.
For the most recent training, wooden pallets were set ablaze as smoke billowed into the Saudi Arabian sky.
“Unattended bonfires or fires in dumpsters are the common fire hazard we could see out here,” said Tech. Sgt. Hall, 378th ECES assistant fire chief. “Since we don’t have a real live fire training pit, we have to find other ways to improve our emergency response capabilities.”
The fire trucks were in place, each holding more than 3,000 gallons of water as firefighters manned the hoses. Cool water shot out and sprayed the burning pallets, reducing the flames to nothing more than ember and ashes.
After the fire was out, Staff Sgt. St. Claire, 378th ECES firefighter mentioned it is good practice to dig through the debris to look for smaller fires and disperse what was burned.
“Although this was a small, contained fire, we still want to work on good practices,” said St. Claire. “In a large building fire, it’s possible there will be victims trapped we would need to find and rescue.”
Life safety is a primary focus and the firefighters on base achieve that by working with other emergency response units. In some real-world scenarios, the fire department may need to coordinate with medical staff, security forces, explosive ordnance disposal, wing safety and other agencies.
“We all learned how to work as a team at the Fire Academy. Then later in our career, we learned how to coordinate with other agencies,” said Hall. “We try to incorporate ourselves in joint exercises with the other emergency response teams to improve our skills.”
Although hazards can occur any time, members at the Fire Department are ready to respond. The firefighters at Prince Sultan Air Base will stay vigilant and keep a watchful eye to protect the personnel and assets on base.