Garrison fire department receives 2 IMCOM-Europe awards

Story and photo by Mary Ann Davis Installation Management Command

Installation Management Command-Europe’s 2016 Fire Fighter of the Year Daniel Pommer explains a rescue training scenario to three fire fighters during training Feb. 22 at Fire Station Kaiserslautern-East. Pommer and the U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Fire Prevention program won IMCOM-Europe awards and will compete at IMCOM level competition.

U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department received two 2016 Installation Management Command-Europe awards Firefighter and Fire Prevention Program of the Year.

IMCOM-Europe’s 2016 Firefighter of the Year is Daniel Pommer, Fire Station Kaiserslautern-East acting crew chief.

In his duties, Pommer provided emergency response assistance to three kasernes and protected more than 10,000 people and $9 billion of garrison infrastructure. As a primary trainer and station training program manager, he conducted several training courses in English and German and developed a confined-space exercise improving the station’s technical response capabilities.

Pommer also served more than 500 hours as a volunteer firefighter at the Landstuhl Fire Department providing training and fostering positive relations between host nation and Army fire departments. As a medical first responder, he quickly assessed and unblocked the airway of a victim who fell 10 feet headfirst onto concrete saving the individual’s life. Pommer also assisted an unresponsive diabetic person by assessing the condition and coordinating care with host nation ambulance workers to ensure the patient made a full recovery.

Being a firefighter was something Pommer wanted to do since he was a child, and he joined the German Junior Fire Department at 13. Years later as a firefighter, he knew exactly what he was getting into.

“It’s tough work because you never know what will happen. You may get called out to an accident or fire and have to make decisions quickly to save lives,” Pommer said. “Sometimes, you may only have seconds to assess the situation and make the right call, but we are all trained to handle the issues like second nature.”

As a trainer and detailed organizer, Pommer developed several department training matrices for tracking purposes, created task sheets for program managers and streamlined tool checkout procedures as well as designed training for vehicle testing that was adopted garrison-wide.

There are other tough aspects about his job, besides the danger, to include “keeping up to date with different regulations and procedures, while incorporating new medical techniques and equipment,” Pommer said he enjoyed his job. “I like being ready to help make people’s worst day better,” he said. “It’s good knowing you can help people when they need you.”

Fire Chief Marshall Fiedler lauded Pommer for his many achievements.

“Daniel is a hard charger,” said the fire chief formerly of Monterey, Calif. “He’s a great acting crew chief. He’s motivated to help out, whether it’s training our firefighters or volunteering at the Landstuhl Fire Department. He’s very deserving.”

The garrison fire department was also recognized as IMCOM-Europe’s 2016 Fire Prevention Program of the Year. The USAG RP DES Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention Division is a 12-person team situated in four strategically located in Germersheim Army Depot, Sembach Kaserne, Rhine Ordnance Barracks and Smith Barracks at Baumholder. The fire prevention team was led by two assistant Fire Chiefs of Prevention Klaus Kueppers and Ralf Wayand.

Last year, the team was responsible for conducting more than 3,000 inspections protecting 40,000 people at 26 geographically separated installations encompassing 3,700 facilities in 26.2 million square meters. They instructed 188 classes to educate 1,800 Soldiers about fire extinguishers and general workplace safety and also trained 150 new fire wardens. Additionally, the Fire Prevention Team conducted 250 risk assessments, 150 fire drills for Child and Youth Centers and other education facilities.

The team had several difficult tasks to handle last year Kueppers said, but the “most challenging task last year was reorganizing the team and [creating] the additional Rhine Ordnance Barracks-based fire prevention team out of the existing manpower,” he said. “Also difficult and very time consuming was uniting the staff that previously worked at three separate garrisons (Heidelberg/Mannheim, Kaiserslautern and Baumholder) into one team working successfully together for USAG RP. I think this was the most demanding challenge.”

According to Kueppers, the fire prevention team also upgraded the fire suppression systems at Miesau Ammunition Depot, which was a demanding assignment they undertook with the help of the safety director. Additionally they provided assistance on several construction and modification ventures to include the new Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center that continues to be an ongoing project for the team.

“Everyone is working really hard to make all the construction projects happen, while doing their regular fire prevention inspections, educational classes and a variety of other duties including logistics, telephone control officer duties and special events,” said Kueppers, who worked in fire prevention for 30 years. “They never refuse to do additional work when it becomes necessary. I am so proud them. I could not ask for better team.”

Chief Fiedler is also proud of his fire prevention team and all the hard work they’ve accomplished in 2016.

“They are doing a tremendous job with this program. They have a small team, but do so much for our community. They work very hard to stay in constant contact with the public, customers and clients,” the chief said. “They are also assist building design teams, engineers and architects and ensure the fire standards and requirements are met. Klaus, Wayand and their team have been doing an outstanding job in the Rheinland-Pfalz. They are a great bunch of guys, and I can’t say enough good things about them.”

Pommer and the fire prevention team will compete next at the IMCOM level.