by Airman Valerie Monroy
JBER Public Affairs
10/14/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Before jumping out of a firetruck, he has no preconceptions. He doesn't think of what the situation requires of him.
As soon as he steps into the chaos, everything clicks. Everything around him comes into focus.
He understands that every small piece of knowledge that others have shared with him now comes into play.
His mind takes over and his body simply follows. Everything comes down to training.
Airman 1st Class Jammie Garcia is a 673d Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter who relies on his training.
Garcia's day starts off with checking all the equipment on the trucks.
He makes sure everything is in perfect working order before moving on to
"Once a week we'll test everything," Garcia explained.
Classroom training follows tests. The classes are usually medical
refreshers or reviews of vital firefighting information, Garcia said.
Garcia said he needs to meet monthly training requirements.
Putting out fires under varying circumstances, and search and rescue area few examples of Garcia's firefighting training.
"You know, you have those days where you're out training and it's
snowing, and it sucks, but you take a step back and realize it's pretty
cool stuff," Garcia said.
Apart from the firefighter's day-to-day activities, fire emergencies happen at any time.
"Usually we'll start getting calls around nine in the morning," Garcia
said. "We'll manage our work around how many calls we get."
Though 673d CES firefighters have primarily been occupied with medical
emergencies, winter means they will respond to more car accidents.
In order for Garcia to stay ready for his job, he must stay physically prepared for any emergency.
"Staying fit is absolutely necessary," Garcia said.
Along with keeping his body in shape, mental preparedness is also
expected. Studying vital information needed to perform his job and
knowing the standard operating procedures is important, Garcia said.
"It's a lot of reviewing things we learned in technical school, there
are many exact numbers we need to know for certain things we do," Garcia
said. "One of the hardest parts is remembering everything."
Garcia said technical school involved learning basic medical-response
skills like checking vitals, taking blood pressure and stopping
Eventually, firefighters learn on-the-job skills including how to best
use their tools and equipment, how to fight multiple types of fires and
fire rescue, Garcia said.
While training and preparation help get the job done, it's doesn't make
thing easy. That's why every firefighter has to give their best at all
"The feeling of helping others motivates me to perform my job to the
fullest potential," said Airman 1st Class Joseph Pyun, 673d CES
firefighter. "There is no greater feeling than being thanked for doing
"There is not much you can do to prepare yourself for everything you can possibly see on any emergency," Garcia said.
No matter how hard a day proves to be for 673d CES firefighters, they know they all have each other at the end of the day.
"I love how everyone in the department can come together as a family," Garcia said. "You don't get that in all jobs."
"The family aspect changes my mindset from having a job in the Air Force to having a career in the Air Force," Pyun elaborated.
"I am always looking forward to going into work because not only are
they my coworkers, but they're my family and friends as well."
Garcia said he didn't know firefighting was a possibility in the Air
force but as soon as he saw it, he knew it was the job for him.
Even now, a year into the job, Garcia said he still has the same feelings toward his profession.
"My favorite part after any kind of emergency is when they say thank
you," Garcia said. "You're just doing your job, but it's a great