Afghan firefighters, U.S. military police come together in Kandahar
April 9, 2012
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Army News Service, April 9, 2012) -- The ongoing relationship between one Afghan fire department and the U.S. Army military police company deployed to their city may have been the result of happenstance, but has nevertheless proven successful.
It's Soldiers with the 58th Military Police Company attached to 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, who now team with the Kandahar Fire Department to share their knowledge about fighting fires and providing first aid.
"We saw the fire department out and about responding to a request for assistance and we just struck up a conversation with them and realized that we fell under their sub district," said Capt. Megan Spangler, 58th MP Company commander. "Here was an opportunity, if not a responsibility to the greater Kandahar City, that we could partner with these guys and give them someone they could talk to and see if we could help. The foundation of our relationship is friendship."
Since that first meeting, there have been two different opportunities, most recently on April 7, for the 58th MP Company Soldiers to train with the Kandahar Fire Department, or KFD.
1st Lt. Jeffrey Parrott, chief of information operations for 1st Sqdn., 10th Cav. Reg., volunteered to assist during the training and put his four years of expertise as a volunteer firefighter to good use.
"Together we trained on initial fire attack, using buddy teams to move to a fire and to egress from a fire, and we shared tips on best practices to include scene recovery and hose recovery," Parrot said.
Due to increasing heat in the spring months, a medic with the 58th MP Company also went over instructions for preventing heat casualties and how to treat the symptoms.
The KFD is the only fire department in Kandahar. They respond to fires and more commonly reports of possible improvised explosive devices throughout the city. Many of the firefighters are certified Afghan Uniformed Police officers, or AUP. They have approximately 50 fire fighters and are equipped to put out the types of fires that occur throughout the city.
"People call us, and we respond quickly," said Nasir Ahmed, an AUP who works as a firefighter. "We get phone calls every day and sometimes we get phone calls just to verify that this is the right number for the fire department. People really appreciate what we do and that makes me feel proud."
According to several fire fighters, word of mouth has spread, and citizens throughout Kandahar City are familiar with the fire department and know the number to call. Recently, the KFD has had to change the way they take requests. Previously, citizens would simply call the fire department. However, due to an overload of calls, they must now visit an AUP checkpoint to have the fire brigade respond to the scene.
Training side-by-side with the KFD has been a great opportunity for the 58th MP Company to branch out.
"(The KFD) have done very well, and it has been interesting to watch them over the past couple of months and see leaders step forward and take charge of every situation," Parrot said.