MOJAVE, Calif. – Edwards firefighters teamed up with the Kern County Fire Department Jan. 17 when they were dispatched to Mojave, Calif., in support of a confined space rescue for a man trapped inside a railcar.
The response was in support of the base’s Mutual Aid Agreement with the surrounding communities.
Personnel from Station 5, located at North Base, responded to the incident with a hazardous materials vehicle and engine. In total, six personnel responded including a division chief and a training officer.
“Thursday afternoon we were dispatched to Mojave to aid in a confined space rescue for a patient who had been trapped in a railcar for approximately seven to nine days. The rescue effort was successful and the patient was transported for further medical treatment,” said Rex Bair, Edwards AFB Fire Department division chief.
Once the department arrived on scene, Bair served as the deputy incident commander, assisting the incident commander with the planning and safe execution of the rescue; while fellow firefighter Wally Krueger, Edwards FD lead firefighter, positioned himself on top of the railcar where he monitored and assisted with the rescue.
Additional Edwards’ personnel played a critical role in ground support throughout the rescue, which includes equipment preparation and ensuring those performing the rescue have everything they need.
The day before the department was dispatched; they had participated in a training exercise to prepare for confined space rescues. It is one of the many disciplines the department must remain up-to-date with their training.
“If you’re going to be the best, you have to train hard and learn from the best. And that is exactly what we do. We were fully prepared and we executed the confined space rescue exactly how we trained. Everything went well; it was a successful partnership between Edwards Air Force Base and the Kern County Fire Department,” said Bair.
In addition to the highly-trained personnel and valuable resources the Edwards Fire Department offers the surrounding communities in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County and Kern County; the base also has the ability to quickly disperse those assets in a timely manner due to the proximity of the five fire stations located throughout the base.
“In addition to Edwards being a premier test facility where our department must be prepared for the aircraft and ongoing projects, the base is very much like a city. It’s a unique environment that demands that we are at our best. There are strict parameters for the Air Force and the National Fire Protection Agency that we must meet. That, along with out location makes our department a great asset to the surrounding communities,” said William Redick, Edwards AFB Fire Department training officer.
According to the department, they average approximately six to 12 responses annually to support the Mutual Aid Agreement.
With diverse expertise, top-notch training, and the ability to dispatch quickly to the surrounding communities, the Edwards AFB Fire Department continues to be a valuable asset keeping the Edwards community safe as well as those who live nearby.