Learning to work together: Alcoa, Air Base firefighters conduct joint emergency drill
By J.J. Kindred | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A two-story structure fire traps five victims inside. Firefighters from the Alcoa Fire Department and the McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base respond.
Thankfully, it was only a scenario for an emergency drill conducted Thursday at Alcoa Service Center.
The firefighters participated in the joint training session to be better prepared to handle a real emergency.
To intensify the drill, a primary search would be conducted, where the victims would be found on the second floor and they would have to be rescued. The structure was blacked out with it being 600 degrees inside.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for all of us,” said Deputy Chief Charles Loveday of McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. “This is the first time we have an opportunity on the ground to actually integrate and work together.
“We have Guard personnel here today, as well as full-time firefighters. We kind of integrated all of our people together, and we have to do live structural training once a year.
“We like to be able to see how they do things, let them see how we do things, and hopefully in the future if we’re able to assist them, we will understand how they are able to function and integrate a lot easier.”
Deputy Chief Tom Daffron, of Alcoa Fire Department, said while the two agencies are familiar with each other, his department specializes in structural fires while the Base firefighters concentrate on aircraft fires.
“We have a mutual aid agreement with the Air Base, and we will go to help them anytime they have structure fires,” Daffron said.
“We’re similar to them in the sense that we don’t have a lot of emergencies,” Loveday said. “We respond on in-flight emergencies. For example, pilots will say we have an engine problem or anything like that. Once they land safely, which is 99.9 percent of the time, there is no emergency necessary.
“There isn’t that much difference. Structural is structural no matter where you’re at,” Loveday continued. “But with aircraft, we’re talking about a large amount of fuel, and it adds a variable that in most cases you don’t have to deal with. Once a year, we go to a different location and do aircraft firefighting. This is an opportunity for us to do a Class A-type burn, which sees water go on the fire and extinguish it. So, this definitely enhances the training.”