Did somebody say fire?
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Firefighters bustle out of their daily training session, going back to their offices, accomplishing personal training and remaining ready at a moment’s notice.
The daily life of a firefighter with the 18th Civil Engineer Squadron involves constant vigilance and plenty of training, as the biggest and busiest fire department in the Pacific region for the Air Force, according to Airman 1st Class Javier Gomez, 18th CES firefighter.
Airmen and contractors working at the fire department work 24-hour shifts. Each day begins much the same way, with roll call. Afterwards, inspections occur of personal gear and fire trucks as well as turnover from the last day’s shift.
“Most of the time we are training; we have simulated aircraft and structural fires, as well as a flashover trainer, which is a big box allowing us to watch how a fire develops into a flashover and things to be aware of during real fires,” said Airman 1st Class Edwin Rullan, 18th CES firefighter . “As firefighters, we have to maintain our certifications, so accomplishing monthly training is a big part of what we do.”
From false alarms to dorm mishaps, the 18th CES fire department is always providing support across the base. The largest part of the job is supporting pilots anytime there is an in-flight emergency, firefighters provide a watchful eye to keep the base populace as safe as possible at all times, according to Gomez.
“Being able to help people is the best part of the job for me, it’s the reason I love this job,” said Gomez.
Working under conditions such as these build strong relationships within the department, living and working with their team, making sure to be the best they can be. Though the hours may be long, the service provided by these men and women is indispensable. The firefighters of Kadena may not have the most typical lives, but what they do have is a deep and abiding bond, according to Rullan.
“I enjoy the lifestyle, it’s not your typical nine-to-five job,” said Rullan. “The people you work with become your family.”