TOOELE ARMY DEPOT, Utah – The sound of a soft breeze is overtaken
by sirens and horns blaring as firefighters from Tooele Army Depot
(TEAD) and Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Departments speed down the
street April 10, 2015.
Brakes squeal as two fire trucks come
to a sudden stop in front of a house with smoke billowing from the
windows. Four firefighters leap from the trucks and throw on their
protective equipment. Four other firemen quickly hook up hoses from
one truck to another.
A two-man team begins to douse the
house using the drafting system from water source to truck to truck.
A second two-man team cautiously enters the building searching
vigorously as the first team follows not far behind them.
This was the first five minutes as firefighters from JBLM and TEAD
Fire Departments react to a training call at the TEAD fire-training
Firefighters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord Fire Department at JBLM, Wash., observe water drafted from a simulated water source using a two-truck system to reach a fire too far from a fire hydrant or body of water while training with firefighters from the Tooele Army Depot Fire Department during Operation Overblast at Tooele Army Depot, Utah on April 6, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder)
“It is awesome to come out here and work with these
individuals,” Spc. Guy Bouldin, firefighter with
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Combat
Sustainment Support Battalion. “It is always great to see
how other fire departments operate under different
The two departments trained
side-by-side teaching each other their operating procedures
based on the environments they work in. The first day began
with drafting operations.
Drafting is needed when the
distance to the water source from the fire cannot be reached
using one vehicle. At least two fire trucks are used to
cover the distance from the water source to extinguish the
fire. The Soldiers had the opportunity to witness drafting
at a regular pace as one of the TEAD firefighters was
acquiring his certification for the process.
firemen moved from drafting operations for smothering the
fire to rescue operations. This is when the Soldiers enter
the building checking for flame outbursts, weak structures
and possibly trapped simulated people. Rescue operations
also include vehicle accidents and other incidents needing
equipment the fire department owns.
moved through the smoking building checking for simulated
trapped victims constantly on guard for fire bursts and
“Using the dummies gives us a
chance to practice search and rescue techniques,” said Brian
Thomas, firefighter at TEAD Fire Department. “We get in the
habit of checking different areas, looking where victims
might be. They also help demonstrate how physical it is to
pull someone out.”
The final training exercise
consisted of Bouldin and the other JBLM firefighters
partnering up with a TEAD firefighter to enter the building
and retrieve the trapped dummies. The firefighters made the
decision to make a second story rescue after hearing the
staircase and debris had collapsed.
provided a more difficult rescue, as they had to pass the
130- and 200-pound training dummies through the second story
“This isn't a job for just anyone,” said
Bouldin. “It's physically active, serious business and it
needs to have serious training. You don't know what you will
encounter when you arrive at a call.”
firefighter undergoes the same certifications from one
location to the next. Even with the receiving the same
credentials, all fire departments are different from one
“The biggest hurdle for training with other
fire departments is learning how they operate,” said Thomas.
“The only way to overcome the hurdle is to work with new
departments. The Soldiers want to train and learn. At the
same time, we refresh our basic skills we often overlook
from focusing on specific mission types.”
the two departments together allowed both groups of
firefighters closer together through a common passion.
“Everyone has something to bring to the table, if you
are willing to listen,” said Thomas. “Civilian or military,
we are still brothers in uniform.”
By U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
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