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171st CES conducts exercise with county fire department

June 2010 --      The base fire department and the Allegheny County Fire Department, along with several other sections participated in a joint mutual aid exercise here April 18.
     The training exercise took place at the munitions storage area (MSA), a fenced-off area where explosives and small arms are stored.
     At approximately 8:30 a.m. the firehouse received a phone call from Tech. Sgt. Gary Shannon, 171st Civil Engineering Squadron, claiming to be "Joe Snuffy," reporting a building on fire, and possibly an injured man lying near the building.  That call signified the beginning of the exercise.
     Among those notified were the fire department, 171st Security Forces Squadron, and the county fire department, who respond to most on-base emergencies.
     First on scene was Tech. Sgt. Brian Crawl, assistant chief of operations, 171st CES who set up command outside of the fenced-off area.  Soon after members from the 171st SFS arrived on scene and established a safe area.
     The base fire department crash vehicle arrived and simulated having to cut the lock off the gate so they could gain entry.  Upon entry they parked close to the designated MSA building and immediately began extinguishment operations utilizing the "turret."
     The turret is a hard-piped extinguishing tool built into the top of the crash vehicle.  The nozzle of the turret is controlled by one of the four firefighters in the vehicle.  It pumps water fro the vehicle's internal 1,000 gallon water tank.
     As the crash vehicle was setting up early fire attack operations, the base fire department's rescue vehicle began rescue operations of the injured individual lying on the ground outside the MSA.  The role of the injured person was simulated by using a dummy.
     The rescue team, dressed in full gear, loaded the dummy on a litter and carried it to a safe area.
     Once in a  safe area, they set up triage and tended to the patient.
     When the county fire department arrived on scene, they began fire attack operations utilizing the vehicle's 2,000 gallon water tank.  At this time, the base's crash vehicle exited the MSA and established a rapid intervention team (RIT).  A RIT's primary role is firefighter rescue.
     County firefighters proceeded to attack the simulated fire with its turret and an attack hose line.  Soon after, the incident was deemed, "under control," ending the exercise.
     Along with Shannon, Tech. Sgt. Pete Soergel, 171st CES, monitored the exercise.
     "We showed a sense of urgency.  We did very well," said Soergel.  "We were able to get together with the county and see how tier stuff works and see how our stuff works with them."
     The objective of the exercise was to provide firefighters with the basic knowledge, techniques and principles as they pertain to coordinated attack and firefighting tactics in regards to the MSA.  Another purpose was to provide joint mutual aid training to ensure effective, compatible, uniform operations between ACFD and 171st Air Refueling Wing.
     "Coordination from outside resources was great.  With the Unit Compliance Inspection coming, we need to be ready," said Lt. Col. Mike Schmidt, anti-terrorism officer, 171st ARW.
     "The most important thing with these exercises, isn't what we do well, it's what we don't do well," said Lt. Col. Chuck Perrott, deputy support group commander, 171st Mission Support Group and Exercise Evaluation Team chief.  "Once we start doing this regularly, we will continue to improve.  This was a great start.  I really appreciated it."