Firefighters located across the largest island in the Ryukyu participated in fundamental training May 20 on United States Army Garrison Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan.
The training was designed to familiarize the firefighters with their gear as well as enhance their abilities to perform during stressful situations.
“We teach everything from fundamental drags to lifts and techniques,” said Lee Vernon, CEO of Code 3 Medical Services. “We demonstrate search and rescue on how to navigate large areas, confined spaces, and how to get around in the dark and smoke.”
During the training, firefighters were given a scenario before blindly walking into a room full of obstacles they had to maneuver under, over and through. At the end of the training, the culminating event brought the firefighters into a smoke-filled room where they had to follow a hose to find a victim and bring them out to safety.
“Doing the firefighter down rescue, helps us to train safely, and in a real-life situation,” said Yuki Hirata, a firefighter with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, based on Camp Schwab. “You never know what can happen, your partner can fall down or get hurt.”
Not only do firefighters receive calls from on-base residence, they also respond to incidents reported off base. Knowing the different building structures and materials used is also important when fighting a fire.
“Here in Okinawa, everything is made out of concrete,” said Vernon. “So your contents can produce a lot of smoke and there is nowhere for the fire to go, so the heat and smoke make a big oven. We need to give them the knowledge and the experience to go in and retrieve people quickly from that environment.”
For many of the firefighters this was the first time receiving this kind of hands-on training, so working with the gear and each other was a way to boost their confidence and knowledge.
“Continue to train and push the envelope,” said Vernon. “Don’t get stagnant because this constantly changes. From medicine to firefighting things change, our environment changes and you’ve got to stay one step ahead.”
MCIPAC ensures to provide support to mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters in an all-hazards and environments.