News: TCM, Kyrgyz Republic firefighters train to save lives
Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Benedetti
TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- Firefighters from the 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, conducted a capabilities demonstration with their Kyrgyz Republic counterparts on Aug. 29, 2012.
The exercise was part of a continuing informational exchange program that familiarizes Transit Center airmen and their Kyrgyz Republic firefighting colleagues with one another's equipment, methods and training techniques.
The exercise involved a simulated car accident in which firefighters demonstrated procedures designed to extract a victim from an overturned vehicle.
"Events like this one are invaluable. We can demonstrate each other's capabilities and build on our relationship. We work together at the airport and share the brotherhood of the fire department," said Chief Master Sgt. Steven Groszek, 376 ECES fire chief.
"They have some amazing state of the art equipment and knowing how to maximize the use of the equipment is the key. That is what we are doing today," said Groszek, a native of Chicago who is deployed from Grissom Air Force Base, Ind.
Groszek, an air force reservist who serves in a civilian capacity as a lieutenant in the Chicago Fire Department, recognizes the value of the hands on training. "Working together improves our methods and makes our partnership stronger," Groszek said. "Firemen are the same everywhere; we all want to help."
Tech Sgt. Jeff Tomczak, 376 ECES firefighter, found the training productive.
"A rollover can happen anytime and anywhere. Today we used the jaws of life to assist the simulated victim," said Tomczak, who is a native of Lansdale, Pa., and deployed from the 177th Fighter Wing in Atlantic City, N.J.
"Doing the job safely is critical," he said.
"We overcame any language challenges and differences in equipment to successfully extricate the [simulated] victim," said Tomczak.
Marat Alkulov, chief of the Rescue Services at Manas International Airport, found working with the Transit Center airmen to be beneficial. "We perform the same function and train together often. Of course, it is helpful to work with our partners to mutually improve our methods," he said.
"We always need to work together and this exchange is very productive," Alkulov said.