386th AEW conducts dorm fire exercise

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Members of the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department and 386th Expeditionary Medical Group tested their skills during a simulated dormitory fire exercise here June 22.

The exercise coordinators used smoke machines to simulate a dormitory fire and six U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, visiting the base as part of Operation Air Force, played the role of injured victims to provide a sense of realism for the firefighters and medical personnel.

Lt. Col. Kelly Kimsey, the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing chief of wing plans, said the dorm fire scenario allowed first responders to train for an issue people don't normally think about in a warzone.

"It's predominantly an exercise, not only for the first responders, but for the leadership to run a scenario that we don't think about every day in a forward deployed combat environment; but is certainly a legitimate danger," he said.

The exercise is different from past exercises in that it focused on the living areas rather than the operational side of the base.

"Our first responders from the fire department will enter a building where there are obvious signs of a fire," Colonel Kimsey said. "Their vision will be obscured. They're going to be a lot of unknowns for them. Are there occupants still in the building? What's their status? What are their injuries? They're going to get to run through their exercise of clearing a building in addition to finding and extinguishing the source of the fire."

Master Sgt. David Jean, the 386th ECES Fire Department assistant chief of operations and incident commander during the exercise, said the first responders performed very well, especially as this was the fire department's first exercise this rotation.

"Things went outstanding," he said. "There was a lot of hustle, good teamwork. We found the victims and got them out."

The exercise was an eye-opener for some first responders, whose biggest challenge was working with heavy gear in temperatures more than 110 degrees. Sergeant Jean said the fire department would look at what their Airmen experienced and look for ways to improve.

"There's always things we can improve on," he said. "It gives us a chance to look at our operation and make the changes we need."