Third Army, Kuwait team to extinguish hazards
October 6, 2011
KUWAIT NAVAL BASE, Kuwait, Oct. 6, 2011 -- Third Army/ARCENT teamed with the Kuwaiti army to conduct firefighting training here Oct. 4.
Personnel from the U.S. military, Kuwaiti military and U.S. civilian contractors all participated in an exchange of information.
"We had extinguishing-agent training with the host nation firefighters, Airmen and contract firefighters from Camp Arifjan," said Tech Sgt. Richard Carter, assistant chief of training, 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron fire department.
Learning how the different extinguishing-agents work was the first step up the multi-rung training ladder.
"First, we went through an extinguisher course, where we went over the classes of fires," said Richard Shaw, captain of the civilian firefighter squad at Camp Arifjan. "Next, we went outside and used the fire-pits for smaller fires. The last portion of the training was to fight some open-pit fires."
All firefighters share a common mission, but due to fire-prevention policies, there aren't many chances to actually combat fires, Shaw said.
"The greatest success we had today was everyone working together," Shaw stated. "In this field, our job is to fight fires and save lives. However, our prevention is good; hence, there aren't many fires."
Since there aren't many real-life fires to gain experience, training missions are an ideal time for the two countries to share ideas, Carter said.
"It's nice to be able to share our knowledge with them," said Carter. "We got to see what their tactics and strategies are and how it compares to what we do. We could be right or we could be wrong, but until you see other practices, you'll never know."
As with many multinational exercises, the language barrier between the personnel in the training was the biggest obstacle, said Shaw.
"The main challenge was communication," Shaw said. "We had an interpreter who did a fantastic job helping with the classroom portion."
Despite having communication boundaries, firefighters ultimately share a common bond, no matter what language they speak or what country they were born in, said Carter.
"Firefighters are part of one big community," Carter stated. "No matter the nationality or service, these exercises are part of generating some best practices."
Since firefighters are part of one big community, they often find themselves assisting each other in case of emergency. Training exercises like this let the respective groups learn about the equipment used by each department.
"Part of the training was used to make sure we have the equipment to adapt to each other's equipment so we can inter-operate and resupply each other, if needed," stated Carter.
At the end of the session, U.S. personnel were grateful for the chance to practice techniques with Kuwaitis on their training ground, said Shaw.
"They have a really nice training ground," Shaw stated. "The Kuwaitis were really helpful in getting us out here and showing us how everything works."
Third Army is shaping the future by strengthening partnerships with the Kuwaitis and keeping its forces ready tonight to adapt to situations where language and equipment may present obstacles.