The base community and flying mission depends on the readiness of the 355th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Protection Services Unit at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., to respond quickly to any potential incident whether on the flight line or throughout the rest of the base.
Without the fire department on standby, the flight line and other missions would cease and have major implications to the overall mission of the Air Force. The 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron has taken an initiative to ensure the readiness of these firefighters.
In 2018, the 355th LRS assigned an Airman and two civilian contractors to the Fire Protection Services Unit with the mission of minimizing time the unit’s firetrucks are in maintenance and ensuring they are ready for anything at a moment’s notice.
“Being here cuts down the maintenance time,” said Tony Matias, 355th LRS refueling and firetruck maintenance supervisor. “We make sure the trucks are ready in case of emergency. We just take care of whatever is wrong with the vehicle and give it right back to them.”
What used to be a long process for the firetrucks to receive maintenance has been turned into a simple and quick fix.
“From our end, everything is a lot more convenient and saves a lot more time,” said Senior Airman Lauren Martin, 355th CES firefighter. “Everything gets taken care of and it is done a lot quicker.”
The day-to-day duties of these maintainers include keeping the unit’s 13 firetrucks ready to go through routine inspections and maintenance, as well as fixing any issues that may arise. The maintenance can range from anything as small as changing brakes and tires to larger tasks such as replacing a cracked water tank or repairing the entire transmission of a firetruck.
“It makes the Fire Department much better by being ready to go take care of the mission,” said Matias. “It takes a lot off of the firefighters’ backs by us being here to support them.”
The convenience and quick response time is invaluable to the mission of the fire department as it keeps them running at peak performance.
“Their function for us is pretty important,” said Martin. “If something were to go out and we didn’t have them then we would have one less engine or one less aircraft truck or one less ladder. When they’re here they can quickly fix things for us which means we can operate at 100 percent.”
Using Airmen, our most valuable resource, as efficiently as possible is one of the many ways Davis-Monthan Air Force Base maintains a constant state of high-end readiness.
“Whenever something goes out or there’s a problem with any of the trucks, they’re the first ones there,” said Martin. “We hand them the paperwork and they’re on it.”
The dedicated Airmen of the firetruck maintenance team are a valuable asset to ensure the readiness of the fire department, ultimately keeping the base and flying mission of the 355th Wing operating.