HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The 775th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire and Emergency Services Flight recently added two new vehicles to their fleet Oct. 29, which will greatly expand emergency and incident response capability.
The first of two is a 2020 Oshkosh P-23 Aircraft Rescue Firefighting vehicle. The truck, which has a call sign of “Crash 8,” is a completely modernized, top-tier aircraft fire response vehicle that uses the latest in technology for efficiency and crew safety.
Although it is usually deployed with three firefighters, the truck is designed to be completely operated by one firefighter within the cab.
The large, reinforced heat resistant glass cockpit area provides greatly improved visibility while the 6-by-6 wheel drive and articulating axles allow for a tighter turning radius.
“With 3,000 gallons of water, 420 gallons of AFFF (foam) and 500 pounds of dry chemical, this platform utilizes integrated computer software to control the pump pressures and valves, in order to pump and roll or simultaneously move while applying agent,” said Jeff Herriott, 775th CES deputy fire chief.
With a reach of up to 230 feet, the bumper-mounted turret and multiple 150 to 200 foot hand lines take advantage of ultra-high pressure technology, which has been proven to increase water use efficiency and allows for longer application times on scene.
The truck is designed for aircraft rescue firefighting, or ARFF, which is a specialized category involving response, hazard mitigation and possible evacuation rescue of aircraft crews, during a ground emergency. State-of-the-art, extremely capable equipment could mean the difference between life and death.
The addition of this new truck, combined with two existing ARFF vehicles acquired in 2007 and 2011, meet Air Force mission requirements for designation as a ‘Set 3’ airfield, based on the largest assigned aircraft at Hill Air Force Base, which is the C-130.
“The reason the ‘Set 3’ designation is significant is that it dictates the type and number of response vehicles and equipment authorized for Hill, based on anticipated airframe size, fuel load, occupants, and other criteria,” said Herriott.
The second new vehicle is a 42-foot trailer specifically designed to be a Mobile Emergency Operations Center.
“It is no less impressive and will be a game changer for not only firefighters, but also the many other unit personnel attached to the Emergency Operation Center’s on-scene response team,” said Joshua Jex, 775th CES’s assistant chief of health and safety.
Although the primary focus of this trailer is to act as a combined operations center for all responders during off base response to HAZMAT and aircraft emergencies, it is versatile and multipurpose.
“It can be used on base, off-base, or under any circumstance where command needs a larger staff to run an incident,” said Jex.
In the event of an emergency on- or off-base, the MEOC can be immediately deployed to the scene, providing a centralized, self-sustaining, weatherproof environment for on-scene commanders and responders to coordinate and carry out an incident response for extended periods of time.
It is equipped with its own power supply, six workstations with computers and Wi-Fi internet links, radio, cellular and satellite communications, and a telescoping live feed camera, capable of normal or infrared, long-range viewing.
The trailer incorporates a large cargo space for transporting tools and gear used by individual subunits, as well as a full complement of HAZMAT equipment with the ability to mitigate a wide range of emergencies.
Additionally, the MEOC is able to receive and transfer vital data between Hill EOC, the Crisis Action Team, and other agencies to coordinate and carry out incident response with state-of-the-art communication and computer equipment.
“We now have the ability to link multiple radio systems together using a radio bridge,” Jex said. “This could be as simple as linking fire to security forces or as complex as linking our fire units with off base fire units or life flight, while simultaneously linking security forces with state and local law enforcement.”