News: MCLB Fire and Emergency Services Department train to be ready for anything
Story by Pfc. Samuel Ranney
BARSTOW, Calif. - The Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., Fire and Emergency Services Department not only protects the base, but surrounding neighborhoods and areas up to 80 miles away; with all that southern California area to cover, they need to train and be ready for anything.
It is for this reason, on July 31, The MCLB Barstow FESD trained with three other fire departments in California. Representatives from the California City Fire Department, Rialto Fire Department and the El Cajon Fire Department were all present.
“Training with different departments around Southern California is beneficial,” said Ryan Tworek, the training officer with the MCLB Barstow Fire Department. “It brings different experience and knowledge to the table.”
During the training, firefighters used toy helicopters, fire trucks, and small cups of water. The toys were used as they gathered around a plywood table covered with burning animal bedding, model houses, and roads … all while giving out various commands and communicating with each other.
The table simulates a brush fire, explained Tworek. It’s a plywood table covered with a layer of dirt and animal bedding to fuel a small fire. It includes model houses and roads for the firefighters to protect by making decisions on how to control the fire. Decisions include making the call for air support (simulated by a firefighter holding a toy helicopter and pouring a cup of water over the area) and when and where to call in teams of fire trucks, also simulated with toys.
“This is the first time we’ve utilized the table,” added the Victorville, Calif., native. “The fire realistically moves and gives us a visual to come up with real-life strategies. The main benefits are giving the fire fighters the opportunity to fill different roles and make major decisions based off what they see the fire doing.”
The firefighters ran through the scenario seven times. After each simulation was over, the firefighters meticulously went over the results. They talked about what happened, who did what, what went well, and what they could have done differently, Tworek said.
“It’s all about command and control,” explained Gary Creuz, a paramedic firefighter here.
The simulator brings order to chaos, Creuz added. It improves teamwork, communication, and overall knowledge. From recognizing burn patterns to knowing what support to call in and when, the plywood table is very effective.
The plywood table may not be the real thing; however, it gives firefighters here the opportunity to see exactly what goes on in a condensed form. The MCLB Barstow FESD will continue training exercises like this to keep MCLB Barstow and various other areas of Southern California safe.