The US Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area Fire and Emergency Services (FES) Departments Basic Wildland Fire Fighting Courses are one of many examples of how the Army has great partnerships with mutual aid partners and the community. Held several times a year, the courses bring together a number of local organizations to include Parker Ranch, State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry & Wildlife, Hawaii County Fire, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Though fire knowledge is the topic of most conversations, the course also allows for “communication to be a bridge between local Hawaii Island organizations that might not have much communication with each other on a daily basis” said Wildland Fire Management Officer and Supervisory Captain Paramedic Ben Grodjesk.
The Basic Wildland Fire Fighting Course is 40-hours of classroom and hands-on training. Students learn pump operations, progressive hose lays, hose deployment/laying, fire shelter, as well as fire operations.
“The course is primarily driven by demand. We partner with Hawaii County Fire to allow their recruit class access to the training, which is needed prior to their graduating,” said Grodjesk.
“My main reason for attending the course is to learn how to better help and protect natural resources, and help with the mitigation of fire if needed,” said Edith Adkins, with Napu’u Conservation project, a partnership of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).
Government partners are able to take advantage of each other’s training and resources to protect resources and the community.
“I’m really proud of our Fire Department who, along with the Police, play a critical role in protecting not only PTA, but the surrounding community,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin garrison commander.