92nd CES fire department implements life-saving training
By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 18, 2017
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Being a firefighter is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Entering a structure fire as the flames start to grow, oxygen levels diminish and the heat steadily rises to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit is just a normal day of the week for a firefighter.
As the floors begin to buckle and the flames begin to leave ash in their wake, a firefighter can find himself in a situation difficult to overcome alone.
Rapid Intervention Crew training teaches fire service members, both military and civilian, the procedures and skills necessary to effectively rescue their brother and sister firefighters during the worst fire ground situations.
“The skills involved include the recognition of problems associated with firefighter deaths and actions to be taken to minimize these risks,” said Dave Dinges, 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron lead firefighter. “The training focuses on situational awareness, modern fire environment characteristics, modern building construction, search and rescue techniques for locating downed or missing firefighters and extricating downed firefighters.”
The Fairchild Fire Department has dedicated instructors who provide hours of RIC training each month to Fairchild firefighters. The team recently was recognized for their hard work and thorough RIC training plan and was selected to provide information and oversight for the building of an Air Force computer based training.
On Mar. 29, 2017, Col. James Kossler, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 9 commander, visited the Fairchild Fire Department to witness firsthand the RIC training and talked with department leadership on their progress and implementation of the training in departments across the country.
“The fire service is inherently dangerous,” Dinges said. “The purpose is to provide firefighting personnel and assigned rapid intervention teams the skill set to increase their chances of making it out of a bad situation or rescuing their fellow firefighter on the fire ground.”
Most large, metropolitan fire departments in the United States began using RIC teams in the early 1990s. The training builds on the basics of firefighting and how to better protect oneself and the firefighters around them.
In 2015, 70 firefighters died in the U.S. from various on-duty causes and Fairchild Fire Department is trying to do their part to not become a statistic, Dinges said.
The Fairchild Fire Department is also in the process of arranging a traveling team of RIC experts who will instruct various Department of Defense fire departments across the country on firefighter survival and rapid intervention skills.
“The dissemination of good training benefits all fire departments federal or municipal,” Dinges said. “This training can be utilized when we work with our community mutual aid partners on the fire ground. It can also be passed through other avenues to be utilized in departments that we do not directly work with.”