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USAFE fire academy instructors bring rescue training to D-M

Staff Sgt. Michael Long (left) and Airman 1st Class Jason Abbey, both firefighters at D-M, lower a dummy victim onto the "helipad" after a simulated canyon rescue here April 30. The specialized rescue training was part of a three-week course taught by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy, who traveled here and certified 19 D-M firefighters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

Staff Sgt. Michael Long (left) and Airman 1st Class Jason Abbey, both firefighters at D-M, lower a dummy victim onto the "helipad" after a simulated canyon rescue here April 30. The specialized rescue training was part of a three-week course taught by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy, who traveled here and certified 19 D-M firefighters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

Staff Sgt. Daniel Rasmussen, a firefighter from D-M's fire protection flight, ascends a building using a life safety rope, while fellow firefighter Senior Airman Wilbert Carter guides from above. The rope rappelling was part of the high-angle operations portion of specialized rescue training taught at D-M April 16 through May 4 by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

Staff Sgt. Daniel Rasmussen, a firefighter from D-M's fire protection flight, ascends a building using a life safety rope, while fellow firefighter Senior Airman Wilbert Carter guides from above. The rope rappelling was part of the high-angle operations portion of specialized rescue training taught at D-M April 16 through May 4 by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

Airmen from D-M's fire protection flight secure a dummy victim to a stokes basket before lifting and pulling it to safety on the other side of the "canyon" during a training simulation here April 30. The training was part of a three-week specialized rescue course taught by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy, who traveled here and certified 19 D-M firefighters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

Airmen from D-M's fire protection flight secure a dummy victim to a stokes basket before lifting and pulling it to safety on the other side of the "canyon" during a training simulation here April 30. The training was part of a three-week specialized rescue course taught by three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy, who traveled here and certified 19 D-M firefighters. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jake Richmond)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Three instructors from the United States Air Forces in Europe Fire Academy's rescue technician mobile training course at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, came here and trained 19 D-M firefighters April 16 through May 4 in specialized rescue methods.

The course was made up of three blocks. The first block trained them on automobile extrications, swift-water awareness and the National Instant Management System, a federal program that standardizes communication for emergency workers in crises. The second block taught technical rope training, and the final block focused on confined-spaces rescues.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Doyle, lead firefighter crew chief for the fire protection flight here, said the firefighters may be more likely to use the rescue skills they learned from the course due to some unique environmental features of the Tucson area. With the swift water and flooding common during monsoon season, along with the popularity of hiking in the nearby Catalina Mountains, he said it's possible for D-M's fire protection flight to be tasked with performing rescues outside the base.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Ferrara, the lead academy instructor for the training at D-M, said the training is also mission-essential, not just supplemental. The Air Force requires a base to have certified rescue technicians to keep the flying mission going.

The mobile training team from Ramstein is made up of five active instructors who travel around the world to teach firefighters from all branches of the armed services. The instructors rotate, usually teaching in a group of two or three.

"It is more cost-efficient to pay for three instructors to come to D-M and train 20 of our Firefighters than it would be to send even half that many to the academy for training," Sergeant Doyle said.

The trainees were given one day of practice in each block, during which the instructors could give them guidance, before they demonstrated their skills on their own the following day.

After each block, the firefighters took a computer test to assess how much they learned during their hands-on training. All 19 firefighters passed all three phases, graduated from training and were certified May 4.

"Overall it was one of our better operations", said Staff Sgt. Zachary Causey, another instructor from the USAFE fire academy. "The firefighters were very fast and worked well together."

"Just getting out here and being able to take the skills the Air Force has given me in firefighting and give them to the younger guys so that they can further their career is what I strive for, " said Sergeant Ferrara.