By Captain Christopher Daniel
“Interoperability at its finest – that’s what we intend to achieve today,” remarked Plutonier Major Leas Dorin, the Fire Chief of the Romanian Air Force (RoAF) 71st Air Base (AB) Fire Hall, while he was briefing his firefighters before their joint training with the Canadians.
The Canadian Air Task Force (ATF) Romania’s firefighter team conducted an aircraft-fire-mitigation training with their Romanian counterparts during Operation REASSURANCE in Campia Turzii, Romania on July 9, 2014.
“I’m pleased to see how they worked together, learning from each other’s best practices and familiarizing with the other country’s fire truck,” said Lieutenant-Colonel David Pletz, Commander of ATF Romania.
ATF Romania is the air component of Operation REASSURANCE, which is Canada’s contribution to NATO reassurance measures and promotes security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.
“This joint training follows the tabletop exercise, which the ATF Romania and the RoAF personnel conducted to have a common understanding of the emergency response plan,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jay Nelles, ATF Romania Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff.
Every year, the RoAF 71st AB Fire Hall, disposes their dry chemical firefighting agent before it expires and loads their trucks with a fresh batch. “There’s no better way of disposing the agent than using it for training,” said Soldat Nagy Zoltan, a RoAF firefighter. “This year, we’re honoured to do it with our Canadian friends; we showed them how we operate our truck and demonstrated our sweeping techniques.”
After the briefing and demonstration, the Canadian firefighters operated the Romanian fire truck with the assistance of their counterparts. The Romanians did the same with the Canadian fire truck.
“It’s important that we familiarize ourselves with how Canadian and Romanian firefighters operate, so that in case of an emergency, we are confident that we can work together,” said Soldat Zoltan. “Hopefully we don’t get to do it in real life, but it’s always good to be prepared.”
The ATF Romania firefighter team is composed of members from 4 Wing Cold Lake, 14 Wing Greenwood, 19 Wing Comox, 8 Wing Trenton, and 3 Wing Bagotville. Multinational training opportunities, such as the ATF Romania’s presence in Eastern Europe, allow Royal Canadian Air Force personnel to work with their NATO allies and improve multinational trust and confidence in each other’s capability.