Article / February 1, 2016
By Air Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs
On an early morning, the rising sun gradually heats the air while the Canadian jets cool down on the flight line in Kuwait, after a busy night of operations over Iraq. Suddenly, rushing footsteps of technicians scrambling towards a firefighting unit disturb the calm atmosphere. They start a pump and deploy fire hoses as fast as they can while a Canadian Armed Forces Fire Fighter diligently supervises their newly learned lifesaving drills. Fire Fighters deploy overseas as part of Operation IMPACT. Their main role is to perform fire prevention like providing fire brigade training. Among a variety of other tasks, they maintain and inspect fire detectors and fire extinguishers in various locations where Canadian Armed Forces members operate. “I’m in charge of this fire brigade composed of aircraft technicians,” explains the Fire Fighter. “Even if our American counterparts provide firefighting services on this base, our members must know how to react rapidly to situations in which they would have to protect their peers, infrastructure and equipment. It can make a big difference, especially on operations.”
Aircraft technicians deployed on Operation IMPACT learn how to use a deployable firefighting unit. This stationary equipment includes a reservoir linked to a pump that pushes the water through fire hoses. Military Fire Fighters can install this unit anywhere in the world, wherever it’s needed.
Soon, the water jet reaches distant targets and all members of the brigade perform their drills as a cohesive team. Once satisfied, the Fire Fighter then takes the time to provide additional instructions to his brigade, making sure that all members are comfortable operating every work station. “I’m learning a lot on this deployment because I don’t often perform fire prevention activities at my home unit. This is an outstanding opportunity to increase my skill sets. I truly feel that I have an impact on the safety of all our deployed members.”
The Aircraft Technicians start putting all the equipment away, making sure that the pump and the hose are stored properly, should they have to be used for a real situation. Canadian Armed Forces personnel rely heavily on their aircraft and equipment in order to assist the multinational coalition to halt and degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“Even if I don’t actively respond to emergency calls during this deployment, I often work with American Fire Fighters,” proudly adds the Fire Fighter. “We have the same standards, the same type of training and very similar equipment. Since my first day on Operation IMPACT, we naturally became brothers in arms. The word on the street is one team, one fight!”
Related Link: Operation IMPACT