Gunsan City Fire Department visits the Wolf Pack

by Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Kunsan Air Base

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of the Gunsan City fire department visited the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department here Sept. 16, 2015.

The purpose of the visit was to work with Wolf Pack Airmen for interoperability and familiarization.

"It is always important for us to interact with our off-base partners," said Senior Master Sgt. Henry Stephens, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire chief. "The personnel that visited us were experts in the field of industrial fire protection."

In addition to interacting with Airmen, the Gunsan City firefighters were able to see vehicles, tools and equipment they have not seen before.

"They were able to see what our training is like," Stephens said. "We have one of the best live fire trainers in the Air Force, which we use for training on a monthly basis. We wanted to showcase the trainer to show that we take our training very seriously."

Since the 8th CES fire department routinely interacts with the Gunsan City fire department, such as fire musters, annual exercises and fire prevention week events, it also gives Airmen more opportunities to engage Korean counterparts who share the same career field.

"It is always good to see our Airmen work with the local nationals," Stephens said. "Firefighting is a special type of job, and it is always good to see how other fire departments and firefighters work, live and train."

A large part of the Gunsan City fire department visit consisted of them looking at the 8th CES's equipment. The Kunsan fire and emergency services flight has specific vehicles and tools that are not available off-base.

"For example, if the city has industrial fires that require mass foam application we can be available to assist them," Stephens said. "A few years ago, we did respond to a call from off-base to help them in an industrial emergency."

The Gunsan City fire department also would be able to respond to base to provide assistance during an emergency or crisis.

On base, we will have the incident command," Stephens said. "Any mutual aid call to off-base response, Gunsan City FD will have the incident command.  Any type of military aircraft emergency is written to have a combined incident command system in place."

The Gunsan City fire department also hosts a mass casualty exercise on an annual basis.

"They plan the exercise for a worst case scenario, which requires all emergency responders from the area to participate," Stephens said. "A mass causality exercise involves heavy fire and terrorist attacks with overwhelming victims. This could result in more than 250 responders from 25 different agencies on and off base. To ensure a safe mitigation of the emergency, we need to practice the exercises together."

Overall it remains a balancing act for Wolf Pack firefighters to support the 8th Fighter Wing while simultaneously training with ROKAF and Gunsan City fire departments to ensure they can respond to any emergency anytime.

"My group asked a lot of questions to the Kunsan fire fighters, and received very well described answers," said Jinhwan Lee, Gunsan City Safety & Environment Team General Manager.  "We really enjoyed the tour and it was a great experience to see how the base fire department uses their vehicles, equipment and trains."

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