By Halle Thornton
By 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Eight Schriever firefighters teamed up with four Falcon fire department firefighters for a fire training exercise strengthening our community ties and future response efforts, June 26.
Exercises like a fire and missing person during an exercise in Building 780, is one way 50th Civil Engineering Squadron members execute the 50th Space Wing priority, “Take care of our Airmen and families always.”
“We’ve had mutual aid agreements for many years, and we’ve done some building familiarization, but haven’t trained together very often,” Jeff Petersma, deputy chief with the Falcon FD, said. “This was just a great opportunity and I hope we get to come out here more in the future.”
Mark Captain, fire chief for the Schriever fire department, explained although the Falcon FD firefighters have been to Schriever AFB to complete their firefighter certification, they wanted to practice a more real-world type event, where both teams could familiarize themselves with each other.
“The simulation extended beyond our capabilities, so we called in mutual aid assistance from Falcon,” Captain said. “It’s always better to practice before a real-world scenario, knowing each other’s capabilities and getting the face-to face time.”
“It was an opportunity to test the systems coming on to base and test the equipment in conjunction with their equipment,” he said. “That interoperability is another component to this. The Schriever Fire Department has new communication devices, which is on the same frequency as the ones the county uses, so it’s a huge opportunity for us to work through those processes together.”
Petersma shared he hopes to continue combined training between the two fire departments and perhaps see them more often.
Henry Stratton, firefighter with the Schriever FD, ensured the fire hose lines went in smoothly and were not getting twisted during the simulation.
He added although it came across on the radio that a “missing person” was not actually in the building, it was important they run through the hour-long scenario.
Because the Colorado Springs fire department is currently undermanned, partnerships like these are especially important, and the relationships built are beneficial to both the base and the community.
“Falcon FD is one of our mutual aid agreement partners, so in case we need more people for big buildings like this, they know our buildings and how we operate and how they operate, so it makes our teams more cohesive,” Stratton said.
He also expressed the training was fun and gave both teams the opportunity to learn and practice new tactics.
“You can always learn something new, or learn a different way of doing something, so it’s fun working with another department,” he said.
Captain appreciated the Falcon FD members’ willingness to work with the Schriever FD.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity and we greatly appreciate it,” Captain said. “I hope we can do more of this in the future.”