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Dyess Fire Department training fires up local partnerships

  • Published
  • By Staff. Sgt. Holly Cook
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The Dyess Fire Department conducted aircraft live-fire training with members of the Abilene Fire Department and the Abilene Regional Airport Jan. 26, 2022, on Dyess Air Force Base.

The three entities came together with approximately 30 personnel for annual training to test their abilities to extinguish aircraft fires.

“This training was a joint exercise between Dyess, Abilene Fire Department, and Abilene Regional Airport to get better mutual aid so, in the event of anything major, we can respond together,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Clawson, 7th Civil Engineer Squadron installation fire chief. “Training opportunities like these ensure collaboration and practice between our teams. If we were to have a major incident we would rely on these partnerships and we know our local community partners would come to our aid without question just like we would stand ready to support them if they have a major incident. These simulations are vital to our readiness for a potential future firefight and we always look forward to these opportunities to train together.”

The training is conducted as part of a community agreement between Dyess AFB and local fire departments. This agreement provides a gateway for each group to help each other during emergencies while building a bridge to better serve together.

“If Dyess has an emergency we can come out here and supplement them,” said Michael Burden, Abilene Fire Department Emergency Services deputy chief. “They are the professionals at aircraft and pit fires and events like that but we can come out and support their operations. Support could mean backing up with additional personnel on scene or backing up their fire station by taking emergency calls in the event they are in need.”

Attendees practiced scenarios they might encounter during routine operations using both training assets from on base and off base. This collaboration enabled all participants’ exposure to the various tools available to military and civilian firefighters.

“We want this working relationship so when we arrive at an incident we know what each other’s capabilities are and we can function effectively together,” said Clawson. “It’s been a great partnership with both the Abilene Fire Department and the Abilene Regional Airport. It’s one of the best communities and partnerships that I’ve been a part of in the past 25 years.”

The exercise also gave newer 7th CES Airmen the opportunity to experience the importance of Dyess’ local partnerships, how these bonds increase the safety of the on and off base communities and why training strengthens the lethality of today’s Air and Space Forces.

“This was my first time participating in this training with our local partners,” said Airman 1st Class Gavin Williams, 7th CES firefighter. “It’s pretty cool for them to come out here so we can see their capabilities with their vehicles and crew. We interact a lot with them but to get them out here to train with us is a whole new ball park. Our departments are different but we can pick each other’s brains on strategy and get repetitions in for training.”