FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The Fire & Emergency Services division of the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) collaborated with Mountain Vista Communities (MVC) for structural fire and rescue training held March 19 and 26.
“We are proud to support our first responders and welcome the opportunity,” said Shannon Glaser, assistant community director at MVC.
A vacant home, one in which a military family would reside, enabled fire and emergency personnel to train for a structure fire in post housing. Firefighters conduct simulated fire suppression and actual search techniques to rescue life-size training manikins while the house is filled with simulated smoke.
“The fire personnel will get a feel for the layout of the building and confront challenges they will face in a real fire,” said David A. Pearson, assistant chief of training at DES. “God forbid, if something does happen, it won’t be the first time they’ve been in a building like this.”
The simulated smoke is non-toxic but obscures visibility just as smoke would in a real fire emergency.
“The smoke makes fire personnel use appropriate search techniques to navigate,” Pearson said. “Find the fire, and put it out; find the victims, then return the house to a condition of normalcy.”
As the simulated structure fire begins, a 200-pound manikin lays between the refrigerator and the counter in the kitchen. This space is hard to see with the thick smoke filling the room. A smaller manikin lays near the rear of the house by the sliding-glass door leading to the backyard, simulating a victim overcome by smoke inhalation while trying to escape the burning home.
“When fire personnel enter the home they will follow along the walls,” Pearson said. “If they come in and track left, they will find their first victim and pull them outside the home.”
A fire-suppression team would be the first to enter the home, then a search and rescue team would follow in the opposite direction, said he explained.
Fire & Emergency Services personnel from Engine 1310 and Tower 1320, along with paramedics from Sierra Vista Medic 205, participated in the training together.
“This is the first time in a couple of years we’ve been able to use both vehicles together,” said Capt. Brian Fieg, fire captain on Tower 1320. “We have two crews converging on the same property.
“This training establishes good tactics and habits,” he added.
The community can feel at ease knowing the fort’s first responders train to exercise interoperability and are familiar with nuances of the property, Fieg said.
“Mountain Vista Communities is thrilled to partner with Emergency Services for this exercise,” Glaser said. “Working with our partners at Fort Huachuca can only improve the quality of life and safety of our community.”
# # #
Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort is declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/.