KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz firefighters and Hochspeyer Volunteer Fire Department members participated in a training exercise at Kaiserslautern Army Depot to enhance and coordinate lifesaving efforts for on- and off-post communities, May 3.

Heavy rescue techniques were tested during an evening scenario, as well as mutual-aid support, said Tobias Lang, USAG RP Fire Station 1 Kaiserslautern East crew chief.

"Working together with other fire departments has several advantages," said Lang, who has worked for the garrison for 10 years. "You get to know new people, train with different equipment your station may not have and learn new techniques from others."

A mutual-aid agreement brings both fire departments together during emergency situations and is beneficial to military and civilian communities, Lang said.

"The agreement helps both sides," said the crew chief, who began his career as a youth fire fighter in 1990. "By training and collaborating, all firefighters get to know each other and work effectively together when disasters happen."

The exercise scenario involved a truck crash on the KAD's railroad tracks with two individuals injured at the scene. The realistic training gave the firefighters a chance to practice their live-saving skills as well as foster their professional partnership during crises situations.

Hochspeyer firefighters had the opportunity to use their state-of-the-art specialty fire vehicle used for large-scale technical rescue operations.

"There are only 14 vehicles of this type in Germany," said Marcus Roes, Hochspeyer VFD District chief. "We received this special truck from Deutsche Bahn to respond to emergency situations via rail, since our department is also responsible for the train tracks between Kaiserslautern and Hochspeyer as well as the Heiligenberg Tunnel.

The 19-ton fire truck holds 1,900 liters of water and is outfitted with standard as well as distinctive equipment to assist firefighters with any emergency situation.

After the exercise ended, both groups received training on each other's vehicles, equipment and techniques.

"This was a great exercise. I'm glad the opportunity to train together was possible," said Roes, a 19-year emergency medical technician with the German Red Cross. "I would like to thank the garrison fire department for this valuable training."

Garrison Fire Chief Marshal Fiedler said he would like to see more mutual-aid response training in the future.

"We enjoyed working with the Hochspeyer Volunteer Fire Department," the chief said. "Their knowledge and commitment to serve the community is admirable, and we look forward to the continued growth of this important partnership."