Rescuemen from Marine Corps Air Station New River’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighting division conducted a live-fire training event on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jan. 19.
"We’re going through the sort of fires that we might encounter during a crash or a fuel spill if the fuel gets ignited," said Cpl. Caden Vanbuskirk, a rescueman with the station’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighting division.
The training used propane and piping to simulate fires on the interior and exterior of an aircraft. The unit conducts this training while on their 24-hour shifts.
"We do this type of training to make sure we hold ourselves to the standard of being a firefighter," said Vanbuskirk. "In an emergency we actually know what’s going on instead of going in blind."
Col. Russell Burton, the air station commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Charles Metzger, the air station sergeant major, joined the Marines for the training and fought fires.
"This was an opportunity to see what the ARF Marines train for every day," said Burton. "(We were able to) put on the gear and jump in the trainer. I’m not sure I put out any fires but I certainly learned a lot I’m really appreciative of the opportunity."
While doing training, the Marines keep enough water with them for the training and emergency. There was an estimated 9,000 gallons of water with the Marines during the training.
"This type of training is important because we actually get to feel the heat. We know what it’s like to be in a fire, so when a situation does happen we don’t freak out, lose our minds or get tunnel vision," said Vanbuskirk.
The Marines work on a unique schedule. They spend 24 hours on call and 24 hours off. They conduct their training in that time and will leave at a moment’s notice for an emergency.
"We’re here for 24 hours a day. You really get to know everybody. You form a close bond," said Vanbuskirk. "Even though we’re all Marines, we’re all firefighters as well."