1. #1
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    Default Fire Service Afganistan

    Any info out there on general state of fire services in Afganistan (Kabul etc)? Not necessarily military/airfield but more interested structural support for civilian areas (even what protection if any may actually be provided by various military units/nations. I assume after years of Taliban/anarchy, preceeded by the Ruskies there is not much in the way of civlian apparatus/organized companies.

    Interest is that I have been approached by an organization that would like to create a philanthropic project to "help" advance things in Afganistan. Lots of un, gov't, NGO projects in Afganistan, any fire service related? I think the US military is about the only organization that is actually accomplishing anything there so I'm interested in background of what is going on.

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    Default Don't you read National geographic

    They live in stone houses with grass thatched roofs, and use the street for a rest room. They don’t need fire Protection. What they need is a Fire to level the whole country. Then they can start from scratch.
    “Just when you think something is made to be Idiot Proof. They go a head and make a better Idiot”

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    Default Airmen keep Bagram protected

    Airmen keep Bagram protected

    -------------------------------------------------------------------


    by Army Sgt. Greg Heath
    4th Public Affairs Detachment

    8/28/2003 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Firemen always have had a lot of responsibility resting on their shoulders, from the proverbial rescue of a kitten stuck in a tree to selflessly entering towering infernos to rescue those inside.

    The Air Force firefighters of the 455th Expeditionary Operations Group here say they are aware of this proud heritage. Although things have been relatively calm here, they are always busy training and preparing in case they are called on to do their job.

    The 27 Air Force fire rescue technicians here are responsible for providing fire protection and emergency rescue service for all U.S. and coalition military services here.

    They are trained in multiple skills, including airfield firefighting, structural firefighting, hazardous-material handling, confined space rescue and emergency medical service.

    “We are the equivalent of a civilian airport fire company,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Theriault the rescue crew chief. “But we’re prepared for much more.”

    Considering the high volume of air traffic going in and out of the air base every day, and the thousands of coalition troops living here, having firefighters is a necessity, according to Theriault.

    “No matter where you go, no matter what base you set up, if you have people around airplanes, then you need firefighters there to protect them,” he said.

    The airmen are equipped with many fire-fighting vehicles, and their main vehicle is capable of carrying 3,000 gallons of water and up to 150 gallons of chemical foam for extinguishing jet-fuel fires.

    Where they differ most from an airport fire-fighting outfit is with their rescue vehicle, which holds equipment to handle almost any situation.

    “We’re prepared to repel down, break into or cut into pretty much anything,” Theriault said. Their rescue equipment includes the Jaws of Life, ropes for scaling buildings, metal cutters and high-powered saws.

    Along with training to fight fires, the airmen provide monthly fire prevention inspections throughout the base, which includes checking fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.

    The firefighters work 24-hour shifts when on duty, allowing them to quickly respond to a fire on the airfield or anywhere else on the base.

    “We’re required to be on the scene within four minutes for a structural fire and three minutes for a flightline fire -- on the scene searching for people, victims and the fire,” Theriault said.

    The firefighters’ tour in Afghanistan has been relatively calm. Their biggest incident was when an AV-8 Harrier ran off the runway. They also have had to put out a handful of brush fires outside the base, according to Chief Master Sgt. George Chambers, 455th EOG fire chief.

    Although they have had to face only a few incidents, polishing their firefighting skills and knowledge keeps them busy day-to-day.

    “The job never gets boring; there’s always something new,” said Senior Airman James Hannigan, crew chief. “We never stop learning; there are always different certifications and schools and new practices to learn.”

    They also are required to learn aircrew rescue procedures for all the aircraft that come here so they could safely retrieve the pilot if an aircraft were to ever crash on or near the airfield, according to Theriault.

    The job hours are long and busy for the firefighters, but they learn to depend on each other and the camaraderie they share to accomplish the mission.

    “There’s a brotherhood aspect to it,” said Hannigan. “We stick together, inside the fire and out.”

  4. #4
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    Default Burning fields of Afghanistan

    April 12, 2003


    Burning fields of Afghanistan

    By Blake M. Petit
    Managing Editor

    Staff Sgt. Bradley Beaty has been in twice as much heat over the last few months -- the heat of Afghanistan and the heat of the fires he’s been trained to put out.

    Beaty, a 1995 graduate of Destrehan High School, recently returned home for a visit after four months in the Afghan theater of operations. Beaty is a trained fire protection specialist with the United States Air Force.

    Like a stateside firefighter, Beaty underwent basic firefighting and medical training, but also specialized training on putting out fires on aircraft and in combat situations. “We handle any in-flight emergency on aircraft,” he said.

    When he was preparing to join the Air Force after high school, Beaty was planning to specialize in security forces, until he joined the East Bank Volunteer Fire Department, where his perspective changed.

    “It just felt like a calling,” he said. “I felt like I belonged.”

    Beaty trained for 13 weeks as an airport firefighter, also gaining certifications for hazardous material situations and other specialties. “It’s an ongoing thing,” he said. “There’s always new ways of doing things that come up.”

    Eight years into the Air Force, Beaty has spent a year in South Korea, a tour in Kuwait and six months in a classified location before his recent assignment in Afghanistan, where he rose to a crew chief. He hopes to make assistant department chief soon, and eventually run a department of his own.

    Beaty’s four months in Afghanistan included a stint with the Kandahar Fire Department, where he taught drafting classes -- how to pull water from standing sources like pools where there aren’t any fire hydrants or other supplies to work from -- and also fought blazes when he was needed, including a Feb. 21 fire that consumed the Post Exchange at the base.

    Returning home from Afghanistan, he says he volunteered to divert to Iraq, but told to “come home and teak a break.” He doesn’t know where he’ll be going next yet, but he plans to apply for instructor duty, teaching people to build the tent cities that servicemen live in while on these operations. Tents can burn very quickly in an emergency situation, making the job he does even more important.

    When Beaty speaks to young people who are considering joining the Air Force, he says, “I tell them how much I like it.” He’s planning a 20-year hitch, using tuition assists to further his education while on-duty.

    “We’re a bit unique, being Air Force firefighters, in that we do fighting in combat situations.” But it’s a choice he encourages people to try, at least for a year.

    He says that troops in Afghanistan are sometimes concerned that the public is forgetting them in the midst of the conflict in Iraq. “There’s still folks over there, sometimes taking fire,” he said.

    Not everyone has forgotten, though -- in January Outback Steakhouse sponsored a big steak dinner for the troops at the Kandahar base, and other companies, including Starbucks and DeWalt Power Tools, have donated their products to soldiers.

    “It made a difference,” he said. “That just made our day.”

    Beaty moved around as a child, with a father in the Air Force, and spent two years at DHS before graduating, so he doesn’t feel rooted to any particular area. “When people ask where I come from I tell them I’m already home, because I’m in the Air Force,” he said.

    Beaty is pleased at the recognition the military is getting these days, but says it shouldn’t take large military actions for the public to notice it. He says he wants people to remember, “Freedom isn’t free... we’re always needed. There’s a constant need for us.”

    Blake M. Petit can be reached at BlakeP@heraldguide.com or at 758-2795, ext. 215.

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