Military News

Thursday, October 01, 2015

ROTC cadets complete firefighter challenge

by Airman 1st Class Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs

10/1/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Junior ROTC students learn basic military knowledge, but not how to be a military firefighter. Can they step up to the challenge?

The 673d Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters hosted a team-challenge demonstration for the Eagle River High School JROTC to show them first-hand what firefighters do.

"They wanted hands-on [experience], so why not let them simulate the tasks?" asked Air Force Master Sgt. Louis Martinez, 673d CES firefighter. "This lets them feel the physical rigors on scene. These are some of the things we do in case of a fire or rescue."

The tasks ranged from pulling, lifting and connecting a fire hose, to climbing a ladder and dragging a 130-pound dummy.

"It lets them know [that even] without gear, it's a pain in the butt," Martinez said. "It's truly a challenge, but a completely different beast in gear. We've got another 40 to 45 pounds of gear [while] doing these tasks."

The students were divided into six teams of five players each, one for each station. After completing a station, that student tags the next student until all the stations are complete.

The firefighters demonstrated each station and stayed as support in case the tasks were too difficult or the students needed guidance.

The tasks put the students in the firefighters' bunker boots - without the weight of the gear or a real situation.

Megan Hancox, ERHS sophomore, participated in the fireman's drag - considered the most challenging by the firefighters and her peers, because it requires lifting the dummy by the torso and walking backwards about 10 feet.

"It was much harder than I thought it would be, especially picking [the dummy] up," Hancox said. "I knew it was going to be the most difficult one, but it was fun."

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