174th Firemen Learn by Experience
By Senior Airman Kevin K. Dean, 174th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 05, 2009
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- The sound of the hydraulic pump did not cover the crunching of metal as the firefighters used the Jaws of Life to practice an emergency extraction by taking a door off a car. The 174th Fighter Wing Air National Guard firefighters here used the Jaws of Life to break a car apart as a simulation and training device to practice vehicle extraction.
While the firemen are trained to work with aircraft they are also trained in many other fire and rescue techniques such as vehicle extraction. The car is a rare instruction device for the firefighters and they used the opportunity to train as each person had an opportunity to learn how to use at least one of the tools from the rescue truck.
The Assistant Chief of Training, Master Sgt. James J. Brody said" You can only learn so much from PowerPoint and books; you got to get hands on". The students learn that every action with a rescue tool has an equal reaction on the car and care must be taken to extricate people from a car using rescue tools.
The instructor , Master Sgt. Shannon McEvoy, brought each student through the different phases of taking trapped people out of a car as the students who are wearing proximity suits which are large, silver colored, heat reflective fire fighting suits listened and then used the tools to practice on the car. McEvoy instructed the students to treat person in the car as if it was your own daughter in the car.
The New York State Air National Guard provides the technical knowledge and the airmen bring a high level of outside experience to the fire station as many of them are also firefighters in the surrounding local communities. The Hancock Field Fire Department has a statewide mutual assistance agreement which means they respond to community wide emergencies as needed and they are a high visibility unit on the base.
The 174th Fighter Wing Fire Department has over 30 firemen and is staffed full time year round. While many in the department are junior enlisted today's training provides realistic training that offers valuable hands on experience to the firemen.
The 174th Fighter Wing, Fire Station is responsible for protecting the aircraft, buildings and airmen of Hancock Field and they are well trained and mission prepared.