PŌHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii – Competing against many other small fire departments across the U.S. Army Installation Management Command in the Pacific, the first responders from U.S. Army Garrison - Pohakuloa Training Area earned the trophy of 2021 Small Fire Department of the Year.
“PTA’s Fire Department deserves a great deal of credit for not only doing their regular mission in support of the base and training, but also for the added value they bring to the great Hawaii Island community,” said Craig Deatrick, director, U.S. Installation Management Command - Pacific.
Composed of 21 firefighters, paramedics, rescue personnel, and associated equipment this cohesive team in the saddle region of Hawaii Island provides first responder services including firefighting, responding to motor vehicle accidents, and even rescuing lost or injured hikers, among many other things.
“This award is much deserved. I am extremely proud of the PTA Fire and Rescue team for the support they provide to our troops who are training at PTA to increase their combat readiness, and also for their response efforts in and among the local community, including along this busy highway and around the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa,” said Lt. Col. Kevin E. Cronin, commander, U.S. Army Garrison - Pohakuloa Training Area. “It’s an incredible honor to serve with this dedicated team of brave professionals. They respond to hundreds of calls a year to help our local community members in need. We are immensely proud to be able to give back to our community in this way. It’s important to us.”
Recently, PTA Fire, Rescue, and other U.S. Army assets, to include five helicopters sent over from Oahu, assisted in the large-scale firefighting effort to contain the largest wildfire in recorded Hawaii Island history, which burned nearly 50,000 acres and damaged homes, ranch lands, fencing, and even live stock.
“That effort in August of 2021 was my first large firefighting event with PTA and it truly showed me how special this department is, and what an incredible team we have here,” said Greg Simon, PTA's acting fire chief. “We see every day how important we are to the local community and that always gives our team a true sense of value.”
Responsible for a 500 square mile response area, the PTA Fire and Rescue team works with Hawaii County Fire and Emergency Response though a mutual aid agreement and responds to incidents on Daniel K. Inouye Highway, and calls to Mauna Loa or Mauna Kea. PTA also regularly hosts Hawaii County Fire and Emergency responders for training at PTA, where we provide instructors and the use of our firefighting training facilities.
The PTA Fire Department is always in search of potential candidates to join their team. Openings can be found at www.usajobs.com