SAN ANGELO, Texas — In the second episode of our coverage of the D.O.D Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base, we take a look at the trainings students take part in when entering Block 3: Suppression.
In Block 3, students at the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy get their first, hands-on experience in fire fighting. The 20 day course is broken up into many small skill challenges that all lead up to the final assignment of a simulated call.
Course instructor Army Sergeant First Class Ryann Sartor says in this block, they see students turn into firefighters, “…we start to see it in the middle of the block as they start going into the fire as they start understanding why they want to be a firefighter. The passion behind it.”
When watching students train, you can see the determination and passion in their faces as they work at completing different objectives such as hose pulling and hydrant operations, which all lead to the final task of the block: the co-ordinated response call.
In the co-ordinated response, students start in their simulated fire station, receive the call for a fire, and break up into their respective trucks.
The response is composed of two trucks: the team in the first truck is in charge of establishing a hose line connection to a hydrant, and using hand lines to combat the fire. Team two can be used as man-power or provide assistance in anything that the first team may need.
One of the students in the 15-student class, Airman Basic Harley-Grace Alley, says “Learning in the classroom and doing the objectives you have the instructors there to help you and then for this it was just, you’re on your own essentially. It was definitely different.”
Even though the students are on their own, Sergeant First Class Sartor says it teaches them to rely on one another; which is something he presses when training “Two in, two out. We are always as a team. We never leave a fallen firefighter behind. That is a number one priority. It’s always life safety not just of the victims but life safety of each other and our partners.”
When it comes to being a firefighter, its takes grit, determination, will power, and strength; but what Sergeant First Class Sartor says it takes above all, is confidence. He says, “A lot of this job is just confidence. Very bravado, like being able to take action without thinking about life or threat. Being able to understand the sacrifices that you have to make to go in to a fire, to rescue someone, to know that you’re at risk of not coming back.”