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Andersen fire department trains for any disaster

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariah Haddenham
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's fire protection flight respond to all emergencies on base, whether they are from natural causes or manmade.

The flight is certified to fight aircraft fires, building fires, wild land or grass fires and car fires. The flight also responds to hazardous materials spills, high-angle rescue or cliff-side rescue, confined space rescue, and even water rescue with their fleet of jet skis.

"We perform these critical life-saving missions with the assistance of a manned ambulance from the 36th Medical Group that responds from fire station one," said Master Sgt. (Ret.) John Thompson, 36th CES fire chief. "We also get assistance from the Guam Fire Department and Naval Base Guam's fire department."

Usually, there are 13 on-duty firefighters ready to respond to any of the above emergencies.

"Our required response times vary from as little as 60 seconds for preannounced aircraft emergencies, such as in-flight emergencies, to as long as seven minutes for building or medical emergencies," said Chief Thompson. "So that seven minutes is broken down into one minute to answer the 911 call and dispatch the crews, one minute for the crews to gear up and five minutes for the crews to arrive on scene."

The most common emergencies the Andersen fire department encounter are medical emergencies, from sprained ankles to cardiac arrest and health conditions requiring CPR. They also deal with common automatic fire alarms at buildings on base, where the department will respond to the facility and investigate why the installed fire system was set off.

"Our most common aircraft call is an in-flight emergency," said Senior Airman Brian Lovelady, 36th CES fire fighter. "Crews are responsible to be on scene within 60 seconds and set up along the landing runway, prepared for the aircraft's arrival."

Firefighters will approach the running aircraft and chalk the aircrafts wheels after the aircraft comes to rest, while the incident commander talks with the aircraft commander to diagnose the problem.

"Andersen firefighters must complete significant amounts of training to keep us at the top of our game and ready to respond to all the situations we could face here on base," said Chief Thompson. "Just trying to stay proficient on the dozens of different airframes that frequent our base is a full-time job."

The firefighters are always current on CPR and Emergency Medical Technician training for medical calls and on aircraft, building live-fire, hazardous materials, and water rescue training monthly.

"Bottom line," said Chief Thompson. "The men and women in the Andersen fire department are on our game in protecting the lives of those that live and work on Andersen and supporting the mission."

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