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Columbus | Joint Training Excursive Develops Emergency Readiness Among Firefighters

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Blocher
  • 14FTW PA

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Firefighters from the 14th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) partnered with firefighters from the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR) to carry out joint readiness training. The training centered around ensuring that GTR firefighters were familiar with the procedures that the 14th CES employ in the event of an aircraft emergency scenario.

The 14th Flying Training Wing utilizes GTR as an auxiliary airfield for aircraft operations in the T-1, T-6, and T-38. The training was an opportunity to build working relationships between the teams while conducting important refresher training in sit down, egress, canopy procedures and ejection seats.

“Egress procedures typically consist of shutting the aircraft down, applying chocks, gaining access to the pilot, ensuring the pilot is conscious and removing them from the aircraft,” said John Wooten, 14th CES fire department crew chief. “If a pilot is unconscious while we are evacuating them from an aircraft, we manually pick them up out of their seat and hand them to another firefighter, so we egress all together as a unit.”

Kenneth Doublin, the Operations Manager of GTR Airport, weighed in on the importance of training with the 14th CES firefighters.

“The purpose of the joint training exercises is to familiarize 14th CES firefighters with our procedures and equipment as well as our firefighters receiving a refresher on how to handle the specific aircraft and procedures established by the 14th CES,” said Doublin. “It’s important to regularly have joint training opportunities because it builds familiarization amongst the teams.”

In the event of an aircraft emergency at the GTR airport, the FAA has special requirements for response times. Joint training such as this ensure that the GTR firefighters can properly manage an emergency until help arrives.

The GTR Fire Department falls under FAA-139 requirements which means they have a three-minute response time for an alert call, they have to be in the truck and actually on location within that three-minute time-frame. If it’s a major incident, the call will go out to District 5, Columbus City Fire Department as well as the 14th CES firefighters. The distance, even with an escort, places 14th CES firefighters arriving in about 20 to 25 minutes.

The relationship between GTR and the 14th CES is important to ensure readiness for emergencies and the ability for both teams to work together seamlessly.

“We all operate in a similar mode, but this training allows us to meet new firefighters that we may end up working with, said Wooten. "That way when, God-forbid, an emergency happens, we’re all working on the same sheet of music. We’ve all seen the procedures and had the opportunity to practice them as a team. When we show up, we should all be able to integrate smoothly together.”

GTR and the 14th CES plan to continue joint training to ensure the relationship is continually built.

“My hope is that the firefighters become more knowledgeable about the equipment and continue to build good working relationships with Columbus AFB and their fire department,” said Doublin. “A lot has changed since Covid, and it is really important for the success of our mutual fire departments that we continue to nurture and grow this relationship with an open-door policy.”