Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona --
YUMA, AZ [Dec 21, 2023]- Practice how you play. It’s not every day that you see an aircraft fire, which is why Marines with Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona, unwrapped their Mobile Aircraft Fire Training Device (MAFTD) just in time for the holidays.
On Dec. 21, 2023, ARFF Marines from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron conducted their semi-annual training with a MAFTD to instill confidence while under pressure and maintain their ability to perform in any case they are needed, on or off the airfield.
MCAS Yuma ARFF not only supports military aviation incidents and aircraft fires, they also support Yuma International Airport operations, MCAS Yuma Fire Department and Yuma Police and FD respond to any local calls.
“It's important for the public to know what we do, because we don't just operate Marine Corps side, we also protect the civilian side as well. So, if something happens to the Yuma International planes, we respond to that too.” Said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chloe Baker, A firefighter with ARFF.
“We’re just here to support anyone that we can and whenever we’re able to do that, provide support to whoever it may be, that’s going to be able to provide a service to the community.” Said ARFF station captain U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Alec Bolstad.
The training took about four hours to complete. Every Marine got an opportunity to showcase their individual readiness and confidence as well as their ability to work as a team. The device used in this training was a mock aircraft where ARFF Marines can control and simulate fires in places they are likely to burn.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Evan Parolini, a firefighter with ARFF, who participated in the training pointed out, “There's a control panel over there that I was operating during the burns, where it will turn on the fire to simulate an aircraft being on fire. And then whenever they're done attacking the fire will turn it off to simulate the fire being extinguished.”
As aircraft fires aren’t likely to happen, it’s important to have a device like this in order to demonstrate successful tactics and proficiency in fighting those types fires.
“It's important for us to do these types of fires so that we all stay proficient in how we fight the fire, how we provide support to those fighting the fire, and then how we maintain accountability of all the personnel in the incident.” said U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Miguel Castaneda, material control chief with ARFF.
Looking ahead, MCAS Yuma ARFF continues to challenge themselves to stay ready and respond to any emergencies they are called upon. Castaneda mentioned that training events like these are designed to build confidence and it shows, “Yes, I definitely see that. A lot of the times they do dry runs where they're simulating extinguishing fire with no actual fire. And I think it's a little frustrating to do that because it's kind of difficult to imagine fire sometimes. But once they actually see the fire, I think it simplifies it all and it puts everything together for them. They're able to make better sense of the tactics that they've been learning and I think it just makes the whole training that they've done leading up to it make sense.”