Intense training keeps Malmstrom firefighters fit to fight

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Firefighters at Malmstrom Air Force Base must be out the door within 60 seconds of hearing an alarm. The training needed to maintain this level of readiness must be performed on a daily basis and every aspect of the job must be covered in order to adhere to an excellent standard. Dec. 5 was no exception as Malmstrom's firefighters exercised their mental and physical abilities during a day-long training session.

"We have daily training sessions to keep us up-to-date on everything our job requires and every month we receive a new training list," said Staff Sgt. Dustin Beckley, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron fire crew chief. "We perform drills for everything - from dealing with confined spaces, to weak building structures and even providing care to the public if an infectious disease were to break out. We do it all."

Malmstrom's fire department responds, on average, to 15 calls per week and more than 300 calls per year. In every case, even with a simple event such as a faulty alarm, there may be lesson to be learned.

Airman 1st Class Vincent Stroud, 341st CES firefighter, is a recent technical school graduate, and although he has only been at Malmstrom a few short weeks, he has responded to nearly 20 calls.

"When you hear that alarm ring you need to stop what you're doing and get on that truck quick and ready to roll," Stroud said. "Being on a team at a working fire department is very different from tech. school. It is much more fast paced and you need to perform your job to the best of your abilities.

"Every day I learn something new from the more experienced firefighters in my shop," he said. "They teach me during the downtime and even when we have a somewhat uneventful call, we will go over on-site equipment and techniques to be better prepared for the next time someone needs our help."

The Malmstrom fire department is scheduled to receive new weightlifting equipment next week. According to the firefighters, every piece of gear and equipment helps them achieve the level of excellence needed to perform their job proficiently.

Maintenance on equipment is also done on a daily basis. With two fire engines and multiple support trucks, the task of keeping everything up-to-date is a daunting one, but one that is held to an excellent standard.

"Our fire department operates on two shifts of several people per crew, depending on the day," Beckley said. "The nice thing about Malmstrom is that we have a smaller [department] so we are closer as a unit, but at the same time, it makes the job harder because we still have to meet our standards with less people. No matter the case, we strive to do our best and will continue to do so in every situation."