Side-by-side D-M, local firefighters train together

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mya M. Crosby

Firefighters from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Green Valley Fire District teamed up to participate in live-fire training at D-M AFB, Ariz.

A total of about 125 firefighters from both agencies utilized this week’s Class A training to maintain proficiency in fire protection.

“Tactics are continuously changing when it comes to firefighting,” said Darren Felish, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of training. “From the newest member to the most seasoned, we’re learning the latest strategies on fire ground operations.”

The firemen divided into crews and responded to fires to employ the following competencies: search and rescue, fire attack, rapid intervention and rehabilitation. Participants searched for two simulated downed firefighters in a burn house reaching temperatures of up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

“They come out exhausted and it’s still 100 degrees outside,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Partlow, 355th CES NCO in charge of training. “Their only job at that point, is to check the victims’ vitals, give medical attention, apply cool rags on them to get their body temperature down, and then they can get back in the fight.”

D-M’s fire department conducts live-fire training almost on a monthly basis, so it’s not uncommon for civilian fire departments to train at the base.

“There are roughly 12 different agencies we train with,” Felish said. “Davis-Monthan isn’t on its own here. We reach out to the community and open up our gates and training grounds to take on the regional training.”

Other than proficiency, the interagency training also provides the ability to network and strengthen relationships within the firefighting community.

“The fire service is really considered more of a family no matter where you are, no matter what uniform you’re wearing or what name is on your back,” Felish said.