Spangdahlem & Bulgarian Firefighters Share Expertise
The 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron fire department deployed a six man team from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria, to support "Reunion April 2009," a joint training exercise.
"We are here to provide fire coverage for the 81st Fighter Squadron A-10s, for maintainers during major and minor repairs on the A-10 engines and to basically save lives," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Dilling, 52nd CES deployed fire chief.
The team brought more than 5,000 pounds of tools and equipment allowing them to equip a mobile fire station to ensure they were prepared for any situation that may arise. It also enabled them to support their Bulgarian counterparts. if needed. In addition, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, moved two P19 fire trucks to Bezmer for use during the exercise.
The Spangdahlem firefighters are confident in their ability to jointly respond to any emergency situation they may face here.
"Most of your fire tactics are pretty much the same whereever you go," Sergeant Dilling said. "Fireman to fireman we pretty much have the same types of principles and equipment, they may just operate differently."
The firefighters took advantage of time during slower operations, while the A-10Cs and Bulgarian SU-25s and AS-532ALs were in the sky, to train their NATO counterparts on the P19, a major crash firefighting vehicle. The Bulgarian air force will soon receive a shipment of these vehicles designed for aircraft firefighting.
"We went over a few things about the truck like the gadgets, pump and other basic things," said Airman 1st Class Art Lewis, 52nd CES hand lineman.
Airman Lewis also reviewed the truck's modulating capabilities with them, which he said are important when dealing with aircraft fires. Modulating is the ability to spray water while driving toward or around a fire.
The P19 holds 1,000 gallons of water, 130 gallons of foam and 500 pounds of dry chemical agent. In this truck, firefighters can spray water and foam at the same time to extinguish a fire.
"The Bulgarian firefighters seemed pretty impressed by the P19 and its capabilities," said Senior Airman Spencer Lahaie, 52nd CES driver. "They seem to be picking up everything pretty quickly, after minimal training."
As the training continues, topics will progress beyond the basics of operating the truck's pumps to fighting a fire on an A-10. The Bezmer firefighters will receive a general certification of the P19 when the training is complete.
"Hopefully the relationships we are building here will be long lasting and we will be able to come back and work with them again," Sergeant Dilling said.