Firefighters train to battle aircraft fires

by Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Orange flames and billowing smoke spewed from both ends of a training aircraft Feb. 17 during a firefighter exercise on Ramstein.

Ramstein firefighters participated in a semiannual mobile aircraft fire training to keep them proficient and up-to-date on successfully extinguishing aircraft fires.
“It’s always fun to get out and participate in MAFT,” said Airman 1st Class Lukas Miller, 835th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter. “MAFT is a great way to keep us trained on controlling and putting out aircraft fires. This is a definite priority since Ramstein is such a high-volume flying base.”

The course is conducted with a fire training aircraft, which is computer operated and run by a generator. The computer can simulate 10 different kinds of fire scenarios at any given time.

“This is one of the most efficient ways to train for aircraft fires,” said Bestyak Dieter, 835th CES training instructor. “The different types of scenarios really help firefighters get a feel for what a real aircraft fire would be like.”

Along with realistic training scenarios comes realistic safety gear.
“While we push our firefighters to train hard, safety is always our first priority,” Mr. Dieter said. “There are several functions that go into making this training happen. This is the one of the reasons why we must all take extra precautions when proceeding with this exercise.”

As part of the exercise, firefighters paired up to take on the several fire scenarios, such as engine, ground and cabin fires.

“It is important we work together as a team and are in sync when battling the flames,” Airman Miller said. “When we are put in real world situations, there is no room for error.”

As firefighters battled their way through the exercise, trainers evaluated them on their performance and ensured they had completed each segment of the course as sufficiently as possible.

“We pay close attention as these firefighters perform each task,” Mr. Dieter said. “If they are not meeting requirements, we have them continue battling the flames until they perform the task correctly.”

As the training subsided and the smoke cleared, firefighters were satisfied with their performance and the way training was conducted.

“This was a great exercise for me,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Allen, 835th CES firefighter. “I have not been on station very long, so this was my first time to go through this particular training. I feel I have learned a lot today, and I know I am better prepared should I have to go through the real thing.”