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NEWS | July 13, 2010

JB CHS senior airman deployed to Southwest Asia to support fire protection ops

By Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Senior Airman Joshua Reynolds is a fire protection journeyman with the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron's Fire Department at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia.

As an emergency responder, Airman Reynolds and his fellow firefighters are responsible for protecting billions of dollars of Air Force assets and personnel for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing from fire. He is deployed from the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., and his hometown is Schertz, Texas.

Air Force firefighters, according to their career field description, are required to plan, organize and direct fire protection activities. They are also required to be knowledgeable on fire safety and prevention and capable of fire response to control and extinguish aircraft, structure, wildland and miscellaneous fires. To do those tasks, firefighters have to be capable to drive or operate and be certified on numerous types of fire response vehicles and equipment.

In the event of an aircraft fire, for example, 380 ECES firefighters have a two-minute response time to make it on scene. Once on scene, a crew establishes a water supply from an emergency water tank and they draft or vacuum the water from the tank for the other crews. If the call comes, they have to be on the scene immediately.

Other skills firefighters like Airman Reynolds possess include executing and enforcing the Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program and conducting and evaluating training on specialized fire protection equipment and procedures.

Firefighters also perform inspections and organizational maintenance on fire protection vehicles, equipment and protective clothing and they manage and operate fire alarm communications centers. They also support the electrical power production function with resetting aircraft arresting systems.

Furthermore, in providing fire prevention guidance, firefighters like Airman Reynolds perform project reviews to ensure fire safety feature adequacy and they inspect facilities and identify fire hazards and deficiencies. For fire safety, firefighters also determine fire extinguisher distribution requirements and perform inspections and maintenance and establish public relations and conduct fire prevention awareness and educational training on fire prevention.

The job description shows Air Force firefighters also have to maintain mandatory job knowledge in many areas to include the fire department mission and organization, safety requirements and objectives, fire alarm and communications, fire behavior, portable fire extinguishers and personal protective clothing and equipment. They also have to know about forcible entry, ventilation, ropes, ladders, fire hose appliances and streams, foam fire streams, fire control, salvage, overhaul, emergency medical care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation as well as rescue, water supplies and sprinklers, hazardous materials, fire prevention and public fire education and fire cause determination.

The 380 ECES is a sub-unit of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. The wing is home to the KC-10 Extender, U-2 Dragon Lady, E-3 Sentry and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The wing is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, air battle management, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The 380 AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.