ARFF, station firefighters, JMSDF hose down some training
Marines raced down the runway, spraying out fires and breaching an airplane’s hull in an attempt to find survivors of a simulated plane crash here Nov. 14, 2012.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force aircraft, a Shin Meiwa US-1A, was static on the runway for the live-action rescue exercise, which was conducted by 25 Aircraft Rescue Firefighter Marines and 14 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni firefighters.
“This was the first time training with ARFF, JMSDF, and base firefighters together,” said Takuya Fukii, MCAS Iwakuni Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief and 27-year fire-service veteran. “We learned a lot from the exercise, such as the importance of the Unified Incident Command System, communication, safety, sharing the ideas of fire and rescue operations, etc.”
The exercise simulated a crash with hydraulic failure, six people on board and no ordnance. The air traffic control tower initiated the scenario by notifying ARFF, JMSDF, and station fire department. After arriving on the scene, the simulated fire was put out, victims recovered, and a secondary search commenced followed by a salvage overhaul of the aircraft.
Though ARFF Marines and base firefighters conduct rescue training on a smaller scale, many have not had the opportunity to cut into and practice casualty evacuations on a Japanese aircraft.
“Exercises like these help in trying to improve our relationship with the base fire department,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Garbutt, ARFF training chief. “We have been working with base fire more now than in the past and we are becoming more of a team.”
The MCAS Iwakuni firefighters worked side by side with ARFF Marines, assisting with casualty evacuations, also using their equipment to practice cutting into the giant sea-plane.
“It is a good opportunity to skill-up both Marines and Japanese firefighters to work together, especially the teamwork build-up for emergency response” said Fukii.
Both Garbutt and Fukii said the communication and teamwork displayed on the flight line was impressive and are confident in the team’s ability to work together in case of future situations.