Firefighters hone lifesaving skills
By Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Bailey, MTANG Fire and Emergency Services
/ Published September 29, 2016
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- Firefighters from the 120th Fire and Emergency Services Flight took part in two weeks of comprehensive hands-on training at the city of Great Falls Fire Rescue Charles C. Carrico Regional Training Facility August 15-30.
The firefighters performed exercises and drills to maintain proficiency in most of the major service areas of the fire department, to include technical rescue, structural firefighting, forcible entry, high and low angle rescue and emergency medical treatment.
Throughout the two-week active duty training period, the firefighters engaged in repelling drills designed to refresh their familiarization of ropes and knots and hauling techniques. During these exercises, firefighters repelled from the training facility's six story fire training tower. The drills honed the firefighter's confidence in performing rescues involving patient entrapments above or below grade.
Firefighters also worked in engine company teams to make entry into burning buildings and performed structural fire suppression and overhaul. Each team was able to make numerous entries throughout the two-week period and each entry was uniquely designed to contain unknown surprises for the fire teams, such as trapped victims to rescue or unknown dangers like collapsing floors or electrical hazards.
Because the nature of firefighting is very dangerous and no two calls are the same, the 120th fire training team created many realistic scenarios that kept the fire teams guessing and forced them to rely on all of their previous training.
Along with providing refresher training to seasoned department firefighters, each scenario also encompassed the "crawl, walk, run," methodology needed to expose young firefighters to the rigors of the job in a controlled environment.
Safety officers accompanied each team throughout the drills to ensure proper techniques were used and personal safety requirements were not violated during the training.
Overall, the two-week training camp was a huge success. Montana Air National Guard firefighters worked closely with city of Great Falls firefighters and used their facilities for much of the training. Relationships were strengthened between the departments and firefighter's lifesaving skills were reinforced. Most importantly, all training was accomplished with no injuries, accidents or mishaps.
The public can rest assured the 120th AW firefighters are ready to respond when needed at the wing and throughout the community we all call home.